Big Blue Morning: Nicks' sales pitch
March, 10, 2014
By Dan Graziano | ESPN.com
New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks got some bad advice somewhere along the way in 2013. The manner in which he carried himself and handled his business during the Giants' disappointing season -- as a man more concerned about keeping himself healthy than about helping the team win -- seems to have been generated by the people who were representing him at the time. His act turned off Giants coaches, and when free agency opens at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Nicks is likely to be heading elsewhere.
Nicks has since switched agents, and the advice he's getting now appears to be pretty good. His new agents circulated letters to teams over the weekend in which doctors assert Nicks is medically fine and that past leg injuries should not hamper him in the future, according to our man Chris Mortensen. And then on Sunday, Nicks spoke with our Josina Anderson and said he was looking forward to signing a long-term deal with a team for whom he could be the "missing link."
"I know if I went to a place like Indianapolis, I would be dangerous with a quarterback like Andrew Luck," Nicks said. "I can see myself catching passes from Cam Newton or even Philip Rivers."
Now, if you're a Giants fan, you're 100 percent justified in wondering why Nicks didn't feel up to performing like the "missing link" for Eli Manning on a struggling Giants offense in 2013. If he was looking for opportunities to show he could be a difference-making No. 1 wide receiver, the Giants this past year offered him several. But he sleepwalked through the season because health was the most important thing.
Which is fine. Health is a precious asset for these players. The NFL is tough, and you have to make sure you get your money when you can get it. I'm just saying that the Giants and their fans have every right to roll their eyes at this latest statement from a guy who does not appear to have given his all in his final season with the team.
However, as for the future, I think Nicks is doing very well for himself in this pre-free agency period. The teams he lists all could certainly use him, and now he's got fan bases and front offices in those cities imagining him as the difference-maker at wide receiver that could put them over the top. All three of those teams made the playoffs in 2013 in spite of deficiencies at wide receiver, and all three likely are looking for upgrades at the position for 2014 and beyond.
As I have believed all along, Nicks is going to get a long-term deal from some receiver-needy team, and I also think (assuming he really is healthy) that he'll perform well for his new team. But while it's important to remember that he did perform brilliantly in 2011 and help them win a Super Bowl, the fact that the Giants aren't likely to be that team is something that will annoy Giants fans for a long time to come.