BY CHAYIM TAUBER
That question goes a long way in determining whether or not former first round pick Hakeem Nicks remains a Giant.
Nicks in his fifth season with the Giants is already in the top 10 on the Giants all-time receivers list and was well on his way to challenging for the top spot despite constant injury issues. Nicks, a Super Bowl champion with the Giants and one of the more talented wideouts in the league, is one of the most attractive and desirable pieces for several teams around the league (the Panthers, 49ers, and Falcons are all confirmed suitors and there’s heavy speculation that the Ravens and Patriots could be interested as well).
As of now, the Giants have yet to entertain trade talk for Nicks and Nicks has done his best to ignore the swirling rumors saying, “I’m a Giant and that’s the only thing I can focus on right now… At the end of the day, business is business…I’m a Giant right now and I’m going to enjoy it and we’ve got to start winning games.”
The Giants are in the midst of an 0-6 nightmarish season that has seen star QB Eli Manning suffer mightily, RB David Wilson possibly be done for the season with a neck injury, and both the offensive and defensive line be manhandled with regularity. As it currently stands, the Giants are in line to grab the #1 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft (read Jadeveon Clowney) and they would stand to net a bountiful return in the form of a 1st round pick. Nicks is such a hot trade commodity (he and Maurice Jones-Drew are the cream of the rumored trading-block crop) because his contract is up at season’s end and signing the proven #1 receiver would cost a team a mere $1.3 million. His looming free-agency, his propensity for injury, and the emergence of second-year wide receiver Reuben Randle make moving him a proposition worth considering for the Giants.
It’s worth noting that the Giants are a mere three games back in the division thanks to the anemic play of their division rivals and Giants fans still hoping for a mid-season turnaround undoubtedly want to see the Giants retain Nicks. Most however seem to think that the Giants – current owners of a -106 point differential on the season (second worst to only the Jaguars) need to begin rebuilding now and that forfeiting the rest of this season for cap space and draft picks is the way to go.
The Giants hope to begin the process of righting the ship as they play a very winnable game this week against Minnesota. If the Giants manage to drop this game then all doubts ought to be erased and the likelihood of Nicks’ impending trade increases tenfold.