Should the New York Giants trade Hakeem Nicks? It depends.
While that answer isn’t great, it’s true. The New York Giants should only make the Hakeem Nicks trade if they can really get back value, but the likely case is that they will not be able to. Even with rumors swirling that the Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers are interested, the likely returns for Nicks will be minimal.
Why is that?
Well, for the Giants to really get back a worthy piece, it would have to be a first rounder, and most teams are not going to be willing to give up a first rounder. They are more likely to get a second or a third round pick, and players from those rounds are much less likely to be guaranteed starters. A great way to illustrate it is to look at the Giants as an example. Their last four first round picks were Justin Pugh, David Wilson, Prince Amukamara and Hakeem Nicks. Their last four second round picks were Johnathan Hankins, Rueben Randle, Marvin Austin and Linval Joseph. Their first rounders have all turned into starters, whereas none of the second rounders have. The Giants know Nicks has more value than a second round pick, and thus, are unlikely to trade him.
The question then is, why can’t the Giants get a first round pick? The issue is more in the contract than in the play of Nicks. Nicks is on a good deal for 10 more games, but after that he will hit free agency, and if his new team wants to keep him, they will have to give him a big deal. It is simply much cheaper to sign a draft pick. Sure, Nicks is better than a rookie receiver, but a rookie receiver will make about a fifth of what Nicks likely will next year. So, many teams will hoard that first round pick even as they try to acquire Nicks.
With the Giants’ season falling apart, it is all about the future. Because of that, they need to keep their door open and hear offers, but don’t expect a trade, as it is unlikely they can get back value for their star receiver. Still, it could happen, and whether they should or shouldn’t is not a matter of principle, but a matter of whether or not they can get back value for him.