As if there wasn’t enough drama for them to be concerned with, the latest story making it’s way out of the Big Apple is whether or not the New York Giants will seek to trade their wide receiver Hakeem Nicks before the trade deadline two weeks from today.
It may of course just be rumors emanating from a ‘friend of a friend’ or a rogue tweet, but then again it could be someone simply putting two and two together. Nicks is in the last year of his initial five-year contract and will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this troubled 2013 season.
There are a number of factors that suggest the former first-round draft pick’s tenure may be coming to an end. His production value is steadily decreasing; after leading the Giants receivers with 1000+ yard seasons in 2010 and 2011 Nicks has been overshadowed since the emergence of Victor Cruz and his 692 yards and three touchdowns last season was his lowest yet for the G-Men. There is also the case of pride in regards to his fellow WR Cruz. Not only has Nicks been shunted out of the spotlight since his emergence, but he also had to sit back in the summer and watch the breakout sensation holdout for an astronomical payday; the Giants won’t be doing the same for Nicks. Finally there are the injury concerns with Nicks yet to complete a full 16-game regular season with the team.
However, there are only a handful of teams in the NFL who could confidently say didn’t need what Nicks can bring to the table. Teams such as the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs are struggling for production in the passing game, each one devoid of a star wide receiver and more importantly each one will feel that their season is still going somewhere and could use that extra quality addition to kick on. I wouldn’t count Nicks out for someone like the New Orleans Saints or San Francisco 49ers either, both amongst the leading contenders in the league but in search of a genuine option at WR-2 to sustain their quest for glory.
The biggest buzz on social media recently is that the Baltimore Ravens would be an ideal spot for Nicks. Torrey Smith is holding the fort for the reigning world champions and the opposition knows this. Smith’s dismal outing in Week 6 shows that he is susceptible to strong coverage and that shutting him down effectively nullifies the Ravens’ 12th ranked pass attack. With the Ravens currently at 3-3 in the extra competitive AFC North, their season is hanging in the balance and in need of the injection of quality that a fresh Nicks would provide.
In essence the Giants need to cash in while Nicks carries some value. All the signs point towards him walking at the end of his contract anyway, and at this stage of the season you can always draw the most out of needy teams who are either on the borderline of being playoff contenders or attempting to consolidate their healthy positions.
If it is a given that Nicks will walk free at the end of 2013 there is very little point keeping him to salvage a little pride from what is ultimately going to be a washout of a season. It’s not as if Nicks would leave a gaping void in the offense; Rueben Randle is coming on leaps and bounds in his second season as a pro and already has three touchdown receptions to Nicks’ zero. His recent leading receiver performance against the Chicago Bears is a clear indication not only of his ability but of an emerging repertoire with Eli Manning.
After an 0-6 start, the general consensus is that this season is going nowhere for the Giants. 2014 will see Big Blue in transition and Randle stepping up to fill Nicks’ shoes may already be in the pipeline. With this rebuilding process in mind, the Giants would be much better suited obtaining draft picks rather than another stopgap on the roster. The Giants are in quite a healthy position too; they could effectively auction off Nicks to the team that offers them the most value in the 2014 NFL Draft, something that if given proper consideration, Jerry Reese will realize is a smart move given the current circumstances.