Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks Keys to the New York Giants 2013 NFL Season

Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Eli Manning at Practice

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants’ wide receivers Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks are teammates on the field and adversaries, to an extent, off as Cruz remains a restricted free agent yet to be signed by the team. The 2013 NFL season also happens to be Nicks’s contract year with the Giants. Right now it’s a zero sum game as whatever the contract amount Cruz is offered by the Big Blue this year will limit what the organization can offer Nicks next year.

Cruz had a stellar 2012 season as one of Eli Manning’s favorite targets and must be signed by the organization. According to the latest news out of ESPN, Giants’ co-owner John Mara was quoted saying a long-term contract, “will get done as some point,” when talking about the restricted free-agent outside of a Big Brother’s Big Sisters fundraising event in New York City last Monday.

How well Nicks performs is the other key to the Giants’ 2013 playoff aspirations.  Last year’s stats for Nicks were underwhelming as he struggled with recovering from a broken foot in the preseason and a knee injury suffered in week two against Tampa. He never looked like his 2011 self during the rest of the year.

Nicks had “minor” surgery on his knee during the offseason. At a voluntary spring workout at Duke University with Manning recently, he was quoted as saying his knee “felt good” after running some routes with Victor Cruz and Louis Murphy, a newly signed wideout prospect. After the workout he was asked about his performance last year by the New York Daily News, “It is in the past,” he said “Every year in your career isn’t going to be what you want it to be,” sounding philosophical about his disappointing performance last year.

Besides being good friends who star in local and national commercials together, Cruz and Nicks are similar as both are playmakers capable of breaking open games. When healthy Nicks is the better player who is able to run through bump and run coverage for big plays downfield.  They both have their roles with the team, Cruz being one of the best slot receivers in the game today. However, for the Giants’ to make it deep into the 2013 season, many things will have to fall their way. The first is signing Victor Cruz to a contract that makes everyone happy and leaves money on the table for Hakeem Nicks next year. The second thing is for Nicks to have a productive year. One that ends with a Super Bowl winning touchdown would be nice.

Joseph Alario is a  New York Giants writer for RantSports.com. Like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+


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