Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz are both due big money very soon. This Photo is courtesy of the NY Daily News
In the past few days, several New York Giants players have publicly stated that they not only wanted Victor Cruz signed long-term, but they would take a pay cut to see it happen. Among them is team leader and Pro Bowl QB Eli Manning. He is on record as saying he wants Cruz back and would be open to restructuring his contract to make that happen.
With all the show of unity and support for Cruz, it makes one wonder about the contract status of Hakeem Nicks. The Giants have said they want both receivers around for a long time, yet, they have only discussed Cruz publicly in the last few weeks.
While it is a long off season, and there were reports during Super Bowl week that they were making Nicks a priority, they have been unusually quiet since. What could have changed in the course of a month and a half?
All the talk of Cruz recently has left me wondering if the Giants are now putting an emphasis on him and not Nicks. If this were the case, perhaps last season's performance had some factor in this. Nicks spent most of the season battling nagging injuries on his foot and knee.
This led to only 692 receiving yards and three TDs. That is a far cry from the average season the Giants are used to seeing him post. Meanwhile, Cruz tallied another 1,000 yard season with big play after big play. He played a full and healthy season while finding the end zone ten times.
This is a considerable difference between he and Nicks. Could the injuries to Nicks cause the team to be a bit gun shy in re-signing him long-term or are they just buying time and getting the numbers just right before they sign both to massive deals?
One thing is for sure. Under Jerry Reese, this team is not a big spender on wide receivers. All one has to do is remember Steve Smith, Plaxico Burress and Mario Manningham to realize that. All three were fan favorites and Super Bowl winners. All three were gone soon after.
This begs the question, could Nicks be the next to go? With the emergence of Rueben Randle and the additions of Louis Murphy and Brandon Myers (a receiving TE), the team may be looking to go in a different direction than overpay for two receivers.
It is entirely plausible that they are waiting for players to restructure in order to make room for both receivers to sign big money contracts, but it is not probable. Transaction history suggests otherwise. The team builds around their drafts not by overspending.
As the rest of this off season unfolds, don't be surprised if we hear a Nicks contract extension mentioned less and less. It has already become a trend in the past few weeks.