Now that the New York Giants have locked up WR Victor Cruz to a multi-year deal, their focus will turn to WR Hakeem Nicks. Nicks is due to be a free agent at the end of the 2013 season, and the Giants will definitely love to have him back. It was said earlier this offseason that the Giants actually valued Nicks more than Cruz because Nicks is a true No. 1 outside receiver, while Cruz does a lot of his damage in the slot.
Cruz took less money than desired to stay with the Giants, but there was plenty of reasons for him to do so. Cruz is a hit now, cashing in on commercials and endorsement deals. If Cruz were to go to another team, he may not have those same opportunities. Cruz is also from Paterson, New Jersey, which is just several miles away from MetLife Stadium. Cruz is a hometown kid, so staying close to home mattered to him as well.
However, for Nicks, that isn’t the case. Nicks does not have companies knocking on his door to offer him endorsements, as the only commercial I can recall him being in was the Foot Locker commercial with Cruz. Nicks is also from Charlotte, North Carolina, so staying in New York probably won’t be an initial priority for him unless he truly loves living in this city.
In all likelihood, the Giants will cut players as well so they can free up cap space and offer Nicks a deal that’s reasonable for both sides. It remains to be seen whether the Giants will be able to offer him $10 million a year because that’s probably what it might take to keep him. So far, Nicks seems to be focused solely on football.
If the Giants were to win another championship, that might make the decision easier for Nicks to stay. But even that isn’t guaranteed, as WR Mario Manningham left to go to the San Francisco 49ers after winning Super Bowl XLVI with the Giants. In Manningham’s case, however, the Giants really didn’t offer him anything, so it was already known that he was most likely on his way out.
We’ll see how things turn out in contract negotiations between the Giants and Hakeem Nicks. If the Giants thought the Cruz negotiations were tough, they better prepare themselves to negotiate with Nicks. It might be much tougher.