The debate started with fans and carried over with sports writers during the time when Cruz was looking for his long-term deal, while Nicks was coming up on the final year under his rookie contract and his free agency loomed in another year. This led to the "who was the more valuable player" argument — a debate that seems to rage daily in our comment section.
This week, the long wait on a long-term contract for Cruz finally ended when he signed what is essentially a six-year, $45.879 million deal with $15.6 million guaranteed; a deal that was four months in the making dating back to when the free agency period started and the team placed the first-round tender on Cruz. Now, with Cruz's deal complete, the speculation begins on Nicks and if and when the Giants will try to lock up their number one wide receiver.
In an interview with Sirius XM Radio, former Giants wide receiver Amani Toomer spoke on the Giants situation involving Nicks and Cruz and why the team could be facing a complicated situation after this season, especially on who he thinks is the more valuable wide receiver.
“Well, if you talk to some of the people in the Giants front office they absolutely think the more valuable player is Hakeem Nicks," Toomer said. "You saw how Victor Cruz’s numbers dropped off once Hakeem Nicks was out of the mix last year. I think that they are going to have to come in higher and that’s going to be an issue, spending over $6 million on two receivers, with the salary cap being flat, it’s going to put their entire team in a little bit of a pickle, how they’re going to make a competitive team. But I think it is a good problem for the Giants to have.”
Toomer's long-time teammate and former Giants center Shaun O'Hara shared Toomer's feelings, as he spoke on the NFL Network on why Nicks is the team's number one receiver, but saw a major positive in Cruz's new deal with the team.
"When I look at Victor Cruz’s contract, it’s great for him," O'Hara said yesterday on NFL Network. "But Hakeem Nicks is the number one receiver for this team. I don’t see them paying Victor Cruz number one money. Could you say he deserves that number one receiver money? Yes because of the plays he makes, but in that offense he is not the number one receiver. What we see here with Victor Cruz signing this contract, he is giving the Giants room now to lock up Hakeem Nicks long term.”
While Cruz has been paid for being the team's best receiver over the last two seasons, Nicks is in a make-or-break season entering his contract season for the Giants. Last season, Nicks was marred with injuries, which held him to 53 catches for 692 yards and three touchdowns. The Giants and Nicks are likely hoping for the previous two seasons, where Nicks had 1,052 and 1,192 yards respectively and a combined 18 touchdowns in 2010 and 2011, and not to mention, the 444 receiving yards and four touchdowns Nicks had in the 2011 postseason that helped the Giants win Super Bowl XLVI.
It's a situation the Giants eventually will have to address, but not right now.
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