When Jeremy Maclin dropped to the ground on a hot summer day in July, a crowd of players circled around the receiver. Some knelt and prayed while others shielded their eyes from the gruesome sight. Radio stations exploded with debate regarding life after the injured Eagle, whose contract expires following the season.
Fast forward two months, and the Philadelphia Eagles offense has stuttered in Maclin’s absence. Philadelphia is coming off of a 17-3 loss to Dallas in which the passing game was shut off by the mediocre Cowboy defense. The Eagles’ new starter, Riley Cooper, has amassed a whopping 18 catches for 281 yards, and is reportedly losing playing time to rookie Jeff Maehl. None of the current receivers have been able to solve the man-coverage puzzle. While the offense can survive through the season, Chip Kelly will need to seek out receiving help beyond 2013.
Many believe the solution resides up the Turnpike. With the rival New York Giants reeling and winless, cries to “tank” the season have arisen. A plethora of rumors, predictions, and myths have cropped up throughout the sports world expecting New York to trade receiver Hakeem Nicks and acquire assets to build for the future.
Whether he likes it or not, Nicks will don the sky blue for the near future.
Agent JR Rickert has expressed optimism regarding Nicks’ current place on the Giants. Though New York is struggling, Nicks has played above the level of the team as a whole: “I believe that Hakeem has put up good numbers on a struggling team,” Rickert said. Though experts–who often portray themselves as the soothsayers of the NFL–have expected that Nicks will be shipped away, Rickert claims communication with the Giants has been fluent.
My partner Peter Schaffer and I have regular discussions with every team regarding all of our clients each and every week. We have a great relationship with the Giants and the communication regarding Hakeem is always very positive… There have been no discussions at all about trading Hakeem.
Nicks, listed at 6-1 and 208 lbs, would be the ideal receiver to pair with DeSean Jackson. Coming out of college, Nicks was touted as a gifted athlete: “What makes Hakeem such a special receiver is that his physical tools are unique. He has the largest hands that I have ever seen (6 XL glove size),” declared Rickert.
Even if the Eagles wish to sign Nicks in free agency, the asking price will be steep. Few top receivers reach the open market, and those that do become worthy of their weights in gold. Rickert acknowledged this spike in salary, “The receiver market has kind of exploded recently with Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald and Greg Jennings. Peter and I certainly believe that Hakeem is a top tier receiver in the league.”
If General Manager Howie Roseman is looking to bolster the receiving corps, he will have to look farther than the bright lights of New York. Roseman and Chip Kelly will have a decision to make regarding bringing Nicks in this offseason, but Kelly will have to devise a new offensive strategy for the time being. All of the trade brouhaha appears to be just that, for Nicks will remain in Giants blue.
Photo: Jimmy’s Very Unusual