NFL NEWS

NFL Notebook: Giants release Cruz, Jennings

Sports Xchange

February 13, 2017 at 3:26 pm.

Oct 23, 2016; London, United Kingdom; New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz (80) is defended by Los Angeles Rams strong safety T.J. McDonald (25) on a 25-yard reception during game 16 of the NFL International Series at Twickenham Stadium. Photo Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 23, 2016; London, United Kingdom; New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz (80) is defended by Los Angeles Rams strong safety T.J. McDonald (25) on a 25-yard reception during game 16 of the NFL International Series at Twickenham Stadium. Photo Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants released veteran wide receiver Victor Cruz and running back Rashad Jennings in a pair of salary-cap moves, the team announced Monday.

The 30-year-old Cruz finished the 2016 season with just 39 catches for 586 yards and one touchdown in 15 games after coming back from major knee surgery.

Cruz would have counted $9.4 million against the team’s salary cap in 2017. The Giants will free up $7.5 million in cap space with his release, according to ESPN.

Jennings, the de facto No. 1 in a backfield committee the past two seasons, led the team with 593 yards rushing and three touchdowns, but averaged only 3.3 yards per carry — the second-lowest total of his career.

Jennings would have counted $3,062,500 against the salary cap in 2017, and the Giants now free up $2.5 million in cap space by releasing him, according to ESPN.

–New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady says his record-setting performance in Super Bowl LI wasn’t his best game ever despite the historic 25-point rally over the Atlanta Falcons.

Brady threw for a Super Bowl-record 466 yards, two touchdowns and one interception en route to New England’s improbable 34-28 victory in overtime after erasing a 28-3 Falcons lead — winning his fifth championship ring and record fourth Super Bowl MVP Award. He broke, tied or extended nine Super Bowl records.

“I don’t really think that is necessarily the case,” Brady told TheMMQB.com’s Peter King in an interview when asked if this Super Bowl was one of the great games in his storybook career. “I think it was one of the greatest games I have ever played in, but when I think of an interception return for a touchdown, some other missed opportunities in the first 37, 38 minutes of the game, I don’t really consider playing a good quarter-and-a-half plus overtime as one of the ‘best games ever.'”

–Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he isn’t concerned with some of his players planning to skip a ceremony at the White House because of the Donald Trump presidency.

At least six Patriots players — tight end Martellus Bennett, safety Devin McCourty, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, defensive end Chris Long, running back LaGarrette Blount and defensive tackle Alan Branch — have said they won’t be attending.

“It’s interesting, this is our fifth Super Bowl in the last 16 years, and every time we’ve had the privilege of going to the White House, a dozen of our players don’t go. This is the first time it’s gotten any media attention,” Kraft said on NBC’s “Today” show on Monday.

–The Chargers hired former Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Richard Smith, who will be the linebackers coach for Los Angeles’ newest NFL team in 2017.

Smith was fired by the Falcons after Super Bowl LI and interviewed with the Chargers last week. The Falcons’ defense surrendered 31 consecutive points and 546 total yards in the 34-28 overtime loss to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl