Hakeem Nicks' future with the New York Giants was on thin ice to begin with following two disappointing seasons with the team in 2012 and 2013 and it looks like there won't be a chance for a third one.
Jordan Raanan of the Newark-Star Ledger has reported on Friday that there is "close to a zero chance" that the 26-year-old wide receiver will return to the Giants in the 2014 season and will be finding a new home once the free agent period begins on March 11.
"Nicks, 26, is coming off perhaps the worst season of his career. He didn’t record a touchdown catch and didn’t play in the Giants’ biggest game of the season against the Dallas Cowboys. Put it all together and the chances of Nicks returning to the Giants next season are “close to zero,” according to a person with knowledge of the situation. That would leave the Giants with Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle and Jerrel Jernigan as the only proven wide receivers currently on the roster for next season."
It's been a foregone conclusion for a while now that Nicks' return to the Giants would be unlikely, especially since it was revealed after the season that Nicks was fined multiple times for being late to team meetings. His regression on the field is also another major factor why he won't be back with the team for a sixth season in New Jersey.
Nicks was the team's first-round draft pick out of North Carolina back in 2009 and arrived with major expectations and for the first three seasons, played like he was one of the best receivers in the entire league, netting back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2010 and 2011 and 18 touchdowns during that time, plus a postseason that was for the ages in 2011 that helped the Giants win Super Bowl XLVI.
But after that year, Nicks was often injured and didn't live up to playing like the number one wide receiver. In 2012, he was held to 53 catches for 692 yards and three touchdowns and missed three games due to a knee injury that plagued him all year. In 2013, he had 56 catches for 898 yards and no touchdowns and only missed one game in late November against the Dallas Cowboys; a game that head coach Tom Coughlin felt that he should have fought harder to play in, but by the end of the season, Coughlin questioned Nicks' desire on the team, another sign that a departure was likely following 2013. When asked about Nicks at the 2014 NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Coughlin sounded like someone who was ready to let Nicks walk away.
"He’s a free agent,” Coughlin said. “Who knows? You’d basically like to have all of your free agents back. That doesn’t happen. You have guys that are injured, you have limitations on salary. I’m sure that the [free-agent] market will be where Hakeem will go and we’ll see what happens.”
With Nicks gone, it leaves Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle and Jerrel Jernigan as the holdovers from last year and the team will either have to look in free agency or May's 2014 NFL Draft for a replacement to take the spot of Nicks.
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