Show me the stability!
That’s the twist on the famous free agency battle cry that Hakeem Nicks appears to be adopting as he inches towards the end of his rookie contract with the Giants and into an offseason of uncertainty. The wide receiver said on Friday – for the first time this season – that he’d like to remain with the Giants and seemed to indicate that he’d be willing to take less money to do so.
“We ain’t talking money right now because it’s bigger than that in my eyes,” Nicks said, adding that he’ll be more focused on the “stability” of things. “It’s not just about money. I’m not going to be a guy who says: ‘Let me go get this.’ Nah … I don’t want to get myself in a situation where there’s a lot going on. This organization is great stability-wise. Not too many changes go on around here and I like that they’re always in for the players’ best interest and things like that.
Nicks also said that he expects talks between him, his agent and the Giants to begin next week.
“The season’s over with,” he said. “Let’s take the next step and see where it goes from there.”
That’s all well and good, but the Giants need to have the same desire. After this season in which Nicks disappeared from OTAs, wound up sitting out against the Cowboys in the biggest game of the season, and was sulking on the sideline when Eli Manning threw an interception against the Packers, it’s unclear if the Giants even want him back. The Giants even considered trade offers for Nicks when they started the season 0-6. They locked up Victor Cruz with a long-term deal last offseason and feel second-round draft pick Rueben Randle is poised to become a top receiver.
Cruz, for one, thinks Nicks will be back. Since 2011, Nicks and Cruz are second in the NFL among wide receiver tandems with 6,356 combined yards.
“I don’t know if that gut feeling is true, but I do have a gut feeling,” Cruz said. “It’s more so just me being selfish. That’s what I want to see. I want to see him back here with us, I want to see him being his same old self, his same old calm, resolved self. Hopefully that can happen, but if not I wish him the absolute best and he knows that.”
Nicks said he doesn’t think he needs to tell the Giants next week that he wants to return.
“They know that,” he said. “I won’t have to say that. It’s just a matter of how things are going to work out. We’ll know that soon.”
Perhaps the discussions will center more around other peoples’ jobs, not just Nicks’. Stressing the stability factor again, Nicks said he hopes the Giants bring everyone back in 2014.
“I can’t control nothing, but I love Coach Gilbride and his schemes, Coach Coughlin, the way he coaches, the defensive coaches,” he said. “I love the whole staff. I won a Super Bowl with this staff so it’s not like we can’t do it. I believe we can do it.”
Yes, Nicks is talking about the Giants in the future tense. He even spoke about getting together with Manning and other receivers in the offseason to work on the offense.
“In the past it’s showed that when we link up early enough and start training that we definitely benefit from it,” he said. “That’s something that I’ll be looking forward to doing.”
Given all of that, it’s still uncertain if Nicks will return. Nicks knows that, and said it pulls at his heartstrings when he thinks of the possibility of playing elsewhere.
“I can’t sit here and say it wouldn’t be tough if I had to,” he said. “But I understand the business. There won’t be any negative blood or bad vibes on either side … I can’t really say too much right now, we still have a game left. I want to go out there and compete, I want to have fun, and I want to fly around.”
And, apparently, land in the same place.