Four months ago at the NFL trade deadline, there was a lot of speculation and rumors about the possibility of the New York Giants dealing away disappointing wide receiver Hakeem Nicks — especially when the team was at 0-6 and looking like their season was a lost one. Ultimately, the Giants decided to hang onto Nicks for the second half of the season and attempted to make a playoff run with him in the offense.
Before the team made their attempt to get back in the thick of the playoff race, there were several teams linked to having interest in Nicks with the New England Patriots being one of them. Now that Nicks is a free agent and likely going to land elsewhere in 2014, Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald alluded to how the team could make a run at Nicks in free agency if they aren't able to bring back Julian Edelman.
"However, the Patriots have more immediate needs to fill in the early rounds, especially on the defensive line and at tight end. Unless Evans or Benjamin falls, it might be counterproductive to add another youngster to the mix, as it would actually put Thompkins and Boyce on the roster bubble. That puts the Pats in play for a free agent, and last year’s upper-echelon group (Mike Wallace, Dwayne Bowe, Greg Jennings) earned between $9 million and $12 million in average annual value, and that might be Eric Decker this offseason. After Decker, the biggest names are Jeremy Maclin and Hakeem Nicks, but their value will be determined by their medical checks."
With Wes Welker departing to the Denver Broncos in free agency, Edelman ended up taking over Welker's role in the Patriots offense and became a favorite for Tom Brady and broke out in 2013 with a 105 catch, 1,056 yard and six touchdown season; one that could score him a nice payday on the open market and maybe even out of the Patriots price range; some have said the Houston Texans could be a landing spot for Edelman considering former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien is now Houston's head coach and Edelman could find familiarity in the offense and team under O'Brien.
Edelman's status to the Patriots has been stressed by a lot of people in the New England area especially because Danny Amendola never lived up to the hype that came with him when he signed as a free agent and was looked at to be the Patriots number one receiver, but instead, put up more number two receiver numbers with 54 catches for 633 yards and two touchdowns; thus why people up in Boston are high on Edelman coming back. But if not, Nicks could be someone the Patriots end up targeting in free agency, that is if he is still available.
In 2013, Nicks had a very disappointing year in his contract season as he had 56 catches for 898 yards and no touchdowns and while Victor Cruz has been lobbying for the team to re-sign his friend and teammate, many around the league and team think that due to the disappointment over the last two seasons, Nicks' departure after five seasons is likely to happen and if the Patriots are unsuccessful in bringing back their new emerging target, they could end up buying low on Nicks and hope that he rekindles his talents playing alongside another top quarterback in Brady.
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