The New York Giants began voluntary off-season training activities without Victor Cruz. Cruz’s absence was not that surprising. However, Hakeem Nicks’ absence was. Both receivers are entering the final year of their contracts and both would like to see long-term deals in place as soon as possible. Victor Cruz’s contract drama has been well publicized but Nicks has been somewhat of an afterthought. With the Giants’ two best receivers sitting out voluntary OTAs the Giants are looking for insurance and one insurance policy is a familiar face, Ramses Barden who was re-signed today to compete for a spot in training camp.
The Giants looked like they were ready to move on from Barden, the Giants’ third round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, this off-season. The team signed free agent Louis Murphy but allowed Domenik Hixon to sign with the Carolina Panthers and looked somewhat disinterested in bringing Barden back. Barden caught only 29 passes for 394 yards in his four years with the team. His best performance came on a Thursday night game against the Panthers where Barden caught nine passes for 138 yards last season. He would have only four more catches the rest of the season.
Barden was a promising prospect coming out of Cal-Poly. He had elite height at 6-foot-6 and was once considered a potential heir to Plaxico Burress. However, Barden just couldn’t translate the physical talent into game production.
Barden will likely enter camp as the sixth receiver behind Nicks, Cruz, Rueben Randle, Murphy and Jerrel Jernigan. Pushing Barden will be Kris Adams, Brandon Collins, Kevin Hardy and Jeremy Horn.
Bringing Barden back is a wise move for the Giants. In the unlikely event that Cruz or Nicks holds out the Giants will at least have someone who can step in and is familiar with the offense and has shown he can produce on the field, even if it was only one game. The Giants would love to see Barden come to camp and push Randle and Murphy for playing time. Is that likely? That is up to Barden.