Which Bears have the most on the line in the 2017 season?
For some players, a big year comes from an idea of a financial gain to come from the hard work. For others, it could spark from the incentive not to lose any money. Some players wind up cap casualties, and the lack of guaranteed money has them playing for their financial lives heading towards the future. Who are the five players that could lose the most by struggling this season, and need to avoid falling out of good graces with the coaching staff.
5. Victor Cruz
Cruz does not have as much financial stake as some of the others on this list, but Cruz is essentially playing for his career at this point. Cruz tore his patellar tendon in 2014. That is a very tough injury to get over at all, and he did it at age 28. He took the 2015 season off but found a way to play in 15 games last season, starting in 12.
However, compared to the last time he put in a full season his numbers were down substantially. From 73 receptions, 998 yards, and four touchdowns to 39 receptions, 586 yards, and a touchdown, the free fall was on for Cruz. It took Cruz until later into the offseason to find a deal, and at that, he has the chance to earn $2.5 million at best in 2016. If Cruz does not look the same in training camp, he could very easily be cut before the season starts. He would cash in for about $1.5 million, but would likely never hear another NFL call, and would likely have to look to the media for a job.
Heck, Cruz could put in a full 2017, and if it is a drop-off, or similar season to the one he just had it could be the end of his career. Cruz is entering the 2017 season with not just financial security on the line, but his career in general in jeopardy. Expect Cruz to lay it all on the field this year.