Nicks turning down Panthers a poor sign

March, 15, 2014
Mar 15
11:47
AM ET
So wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, after signing a one-year deal with the Indianapolis Colts, says Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman made him an offer but "it didn't turn out the right way."

Nicks
Could it be the money wasn't enough? The deal with Indy reportedly is worth a maximum of $5.5 million. I doubt the Panthers would have gone that high even though they don't have a wide receiver with an NFL catch on their current roster.

Could it be Nicks thought quarterback Andrew Luck and the Colts were in a better position offensively to make a run at the Super Bowl than Cam Newton and the Panthers? Well, Luck is the more proven quarterback, and he does have a more proven offensive line and weapons around him.

Newton doesn't have a left tackle, his running backs are getting up there in age and -- as mentioned above -- he doesn't have a proven receiver, since Steve Smith was released Thursday.

“I think it was just the situation," Nicks said on a conference call. "After talking to Gettleman, I think he agreed that this is the best situation for me as well, too, even though they made the offer. Like I said, I feel like I made the best decision and I’m going to take advantage of it.”

This doesn't bode well for Carolina. If Nicks, a native of Charlotte, didn't think a team coming off a 12-4 record with the league's No. 2 defense wasn't the right situation, then the Panthers have a problem.

With only a handful of quality free-agent receivers on the market, the Panthers are back in a position of almost having to re-sign No. 2 receiver Brandon LaFell, who never has been a dependable No. 2 receiver.

This makes getting a starting wide receiver in the draft even more imperative. Fortunately for Carolina, the draft is rich in wide receivers, even for a team with the No. 28 pick.

But first-year receivers often struggle.

Perhaps Nicks realized this was a situation where he wouldn't benefit because there wouldn't be another proven receiver to take the pressure off him. He'd be no better off than Smith was.

At Indy, he'll be flanked by Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton, two proven receivers.

"It looks like a three-headed monster to me," Nicks said. "Last time I was in that situation, I won a Super Bowl."

Three heads are better than one.

Or in Carolina's situation, none.

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter

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