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Can New York Giants WR Hakeem Nicks Cash in on Impending Free Agency Season?

June 12th, 2013 at 7:15 AM
By Doug Rush

The New York Giants could breathe a little sigh of relief on Tuesday when one of their two absent wide receivers made their arrival at the team's mandatory mini-camp. Hakeem Nicks finally arrived for the Giants after skipping the team's OTA's last week and took part of the team's drills and 11-on-11's, which can be seen as a positive first step in his preparation for the season.

Nicks had a very under-whelming and underperforming season for the Giants, part of which was due to a knee injury that lingered all season long and held down his numbers; 53 catches for 692 yards and three touchdowns.

The season before, Nicks showed everyone why he is considered one of the top receivers in the league, as he had 76 catches for 1,192 yards and seven touchdowns in the regular season, plus 28 catches for 444 yards and four touchdowns in the playoffs; games that helped the Giants get to and win Super Bowl XLVI.

A big part of Nicks' success is the play of Victor Cruz, who since 2011, has emerged as a lethal threat on the field and has had consecutive 1,000-yard seasons for the Giants. When these two are healthy and on the field, they are almost impossible to defend. When Nicks was hurt in 2012, teams were able to double and triple team Cruz and force Eli Manning to look to other targets on the field.

While Cruz is in the middle of a huge contract dispute with the team that has caused his absence from the team thus far, Nicks has one year left on his contract; one that will pay him $2.725 million, which is the money that is owed to him in the five-year, $12.54 million deal he signed back in the summer of 2009 after getting drafted.

The Giants would love to lock up their number one receiver before he gets to free agency, but they also know that Nicks is prone to injuries as well. Aside from the three games he missed early on in 2012 due to the knee injury, he also has dealt with ankle, hamstring and toe injuries in the past; a leg injury kept him out of three games at the end of the 2010 season.

Plus, Nicks had offseason surgery on his foot in May of 2012 at the Giants OTA's last year, an injury that kept Nicks on the sidelines for about 12 weeks.

Despite that, Nicks is still the teams best receiver, and he should be expecting to get paid like one; something similar to what Mike Wallace got with the Miami Dolphins back in March, which was five years and $65 million with $30 million guaranteed. If Nicks can stay healthy and perform at the level he did during 2010 and 2011, then he is looking at that kind of payday, one the Giants know they will have to fork over in order to keep the 25-year-old.

However, if Nicks has another season like 2012 and injuries hamper him, then he's looking at millions of dollars escape him and likely taking a lot less money from the Giants. He could still get paid, but not like how Wallace or Dwayne Bowe got paid.

The 2013 season is a pivotal one for Nicks' career. Will he make the most out of it and be able to cash in on his long-awaited payday? How much he's on the field will determine that one.

Photo credit: Football Schedule via photopin cc

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Tags: Eli Manning, Football, Hakeem Nicks, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Victor Cruz

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6 Responses to “Can New York Giants WR Hakeem Nicks Cash in on Impending Free Agency Season?”

  1.  Krow says:

    He’s in the perfect position to do exactly that … cash in. But … big BUT … he can’t do that unless he puts up the numbers. No one needs a big year more than Hakeem. The phrase ‘shut up and play’ sums up his situation. No drama … no BS … there’s nothing he can do except perform like a true #1 WR.

    •  JimStoll says:

      plus JR rarely tries to address contracts too early
      so health and production are the watch-words for Nicks

      in other WR news, 4 days and counting until Victor signs something

      •  Krow says:

        And Hakeem certainly does NOT want to base contract negotiations on last season. I doubt he’s pushing for an extension. This is your typical contract year scenario.

        But I’m very worried that we won’t sign him.

        If he has a banner year then demand will be astronomical. Teams will throw bags of money at him, and that’s not our style.

        If he tanks then we won’t offer him top #1 WR dollars. BUT … someone else will based purely on speculation.

        Either way I have a bad feeling about our chances of retaining him. And unlike Cruz he’s not plugged into the NYC celebrity whirl. It’ll be all about the contract. And it only takes one desperate, stupid team to jack the bidding out of our range.

  2.  JimStoll says:

    looking back to the last post, can’t see giants signing Leach
    he’s 31; plainly on the downside of his career; but likely unwilling to sign for the vet minimum; too rich, too old, too unnecessary

    also glad to see Dirt weighing in on the stupidity of those wanting to run Victor out of town because he is fighting to get paid
    he is not necessarily replaceable; the team could go on without him – and certainly would, but doubtful that whoever takes his place is as good

    that being said, I for one would counsel Cruz not to push it; or the Giants will swallow hard and move on
    moreover, if one possesses just a modicum of discipline, the amounts rumored to be on the table are more than enough to assure financial security going forward — fight for a 10-12M signing bonus and the rest is irrelevant

    lastly, I hope Victor is not waging the contract battle as some sign of respect — “I have to be paid x to prove that the Giants think I’m as great as I am”
    that’s the kind of foolhardy “reinforcement from external actions” that will never satisfy the soul

    •  Krow says:

      It’s hard to figure what’s going on with Cruz. Too many factors … most of them unflattering. It’s getting harder and harder to view him in a positive light. There’re right and wrong ways to do everything. And while he’s not yet strayed into deep, confrontational waters he’s treading very close. As Hoplax said earlier, the prima donna routine takes away from the football aspect. That’s really the bottom line. Is he going to be the player he should be? Or will his celebrity lust diminish that?

  3.  GOAT56 says:

    I think people are overrating Nicks need to put up big numbers this year. Guys like Wallace and Jennings just got paid off of poor years. And Harvin only played half the year and is a bigger injury risk than Nicks but got paid huge dollars. Nicks is a 10 mil plus guy on the open market regardless of performance as long as he has no lingering injury issue.

    We know what Nicks can do so I don’t see why we would need him to perform well to pay him. To me waiting to re-sign Nicks only works if he has a serious injury. His value won’t be diminished nearly as much as some think if he’s banged up again.

    Unlike many I have no problem with Cruz off the field. He may only have one time to really make money so I don’t fault him at all. I just think he’s overvaluing his worth to the Giants as a RFA. He’s not going to get UFA money from us or his top market value like Wallace did. The Giants have several players that will be in the situation of Cruz in the next few years so JR can’t afford to budge even if he ends up losing Cruz as result. When players have a year left under control of the team there’s only so much JR should offer more than in the range of a fair offer.

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