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Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Fantasy Football: Stewart for Nicks

By David Newton

CHARLOTTE N.C. -- Jonathan Stewart for Hakeem Nicks.

Makes sense.

Won't happen, but it makes sense.

The NFL trade deadline is today, and it's highly unlikely the Carolina Panthers will make a move even though coach Ron Rivera gave the patented "we'll see'' answer on Monday when asked if a trade was possible.

But if they did make a move, trading a running back with a high salary-cap number through 2017 to the New York Giants for a wide receiver that could leave next year in free agency could be a win-win for both teams.

Of course, Stewart's high cap number probably is a big reason the Giants and every other team in the NFL won't touch him -- particularly when he hasn't proven the right ankle injury that landed him on the physically unable to perform list for the first seven games wont' be an issue moving forward.

But the Panthers already have convinced New York that linebacker Jon Beason, coming off microfracture knee surgery, was healthy when they traded him for a late-round pick.

If they could convince them Stewart, expected to be activated this week for Atlanta, is healthy the Giants would get a 26-year-old player at a position of great need. Unless, that is, they're convinced Peyton Hillis, who was signed from the unemployment line, is the answer.

The Panthers would free up more salary-cap room as general manager Dave Gettleman has been working so diligently to do, and still have plenty of depth at running back with DeAngelo Williams, Mike Tolbert and rookie Kenjon Barner.

In Nicks they would get a more proven No. 2 receiver to take coverages off Steve Smith and potentially replace Smith as the No. 1 when he retires in the next year or two.

And don't forget Gettleman came from the Giants, so there is a relationship there that could make this work.

Carolina's biggest risk is that Williams begins playing like a lot of backs 30 and older instead of the NFL's 10th-leading rusher (477 yards). Or worse, gets hurt.

But that the Panthers (4-3) have won two straight and four of their past five without Stewart suggests they can survive without him. That the Giants are 2-6 with Nicks means they probably can't do much worse without him.

It makes sense.

Won't happen, but it makes sense.