Chicago Bears Sign WR/KR A.J. Cruz


LA Kiss vs Arizona Rattlers

The Chicago Bears have had one spot open on their 90-man roster for the last month and a half and they filled it today by signing former Arena League WR/KR A.J. Cruz. I had thought the Bears may have been holding that spot open for G Evan Mathis or perhaps another offensive or defensive lineman since those two positions seem thin on paper. Those moves still are a possibility as there is generally a lot of movement with the last few spots of the roster during training camp, but for now the Bears have some depth in the return game.

Cruz played defensive back at Brown University and was a three-time All-Ivy League selection with twelve career interceptions. The 5’8, 193 pound Cruz wasn’t selected in the 2013 draft and eventually signed with the L.A. Kiss of the Arena League. Cruz was the primary kick returner for the Kiss with 1,305 return yards in 2014 and also played corner and receiver. He signed with the Arizona Rattlers for the 2105 season and will go back there if he’s unable to make the Bears 53-man roster.

The Bears now have 12 wide receivers on their roster which seems to be a surplus as they usually only carry 5-6 on their final roster, but Cruz will be mainly competing with last year’s kick and punt returner Marc Mariani. The Bears struggled in the return game before signing Mariani in week 12. He was the best of the Bears returners last season with a 24.6 yards per return average and a +4.2 grade from Pro Football Focus.

Cruz had a tryout scheduled with the Detroit Lions for later this week, but the Bears moved quickly to sign Cruz before his visit to Detroit. He’s a long shot, but the Bears could use a boost in their return game and if Cruz can outplay the veteran Mariani in training camp then he may have a chance.

Next: 2015 Fantasy Football: Running Back Busts

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