While everyone was focusing on a little game called the Super Bowl last night, a report came out during the day that the New York Giants were making re-signing Hakeem Nicks a priority rather than Victor Cruz. This is a little surprising to me for a few reasons.
First of all, Cruz has been the healthier, steadier player over the last couple of years. Even when Nicks has played a full season, he always has a nagging injury or two that prevents him from putting up the truly big numbers. Secondly, as I detailed in end of the season look at Cruz’s season, if you stop Cruz, you stop the Giants offense. There’s a huge split in production compared to wins rather than losses. What’s interesting is that if you look at their 2011 stats in wins and loses, there isn’t a huge split for either. Is that because they are better in tandem than apart? Probably so.
I know in football that being the face of the franchise doesn’t factor in as much as it does baseball when negotiating contracts due to the salary cap; however, if you were to rank faces of the franchise, Cruz would be higher than Nicks in that scale. Also, Cruz can line up out wide and in the slot, something Nicks really can’t do. The slot receiver is becoming more and more of an important position around the game and good slot receivers are going to be the next trend in football, like pass rushers were/are as well as throwing more and running less.
This could be a negotiating tactic on the part of the Giants, who are apparently far apart with Cruz, according to owner John Mara. Maybe the Giants can only afford to keep one, however, to me, the keeper would be Cruz over Nicks.