If you're the type of Giants fan who finds it hard to imagine Hakeem Nicks wearing a different uniform and catching passes from a quarterback other than Eli Manning, get over it. Because Nicks apparently has.
The wide receiver, who will be a free agent Tuesday, shared some of his daydreams with ESPN yesterday, talking about the kind of situation he's looking for in a new team.
"Ideally, this is what I want: I want to go to a team where I'm the missing link,'' Nicks was quoted as saying. "There are a number of teams that I have my eye on once I hit the market. I know if I went to a place like Indianapolis, I would be dangerous with a quarterback like Andrew Luck. I can see myself catching passes from Cam Newton or even Philip Rivers.''
Nicks also seemed to refute a report from Saturday -- also from ESPN -- that said he would be willing to accept a one-year deal to prove his worth coming off two disappointing seasons.
"I just want to make it clear that I want a long-term deal and I want to be happy,'' he said. "I'm excited about talking to teams and making it work.''
While it appears that the Giants' "broken'' offense will lose another part when Nicks makes his home elsewhere, the front office has focused primarily on defense in the opening stages of free agency.
Although the Giants were expected to dive headlong into the markets for veteran blockers, tight ends and running backs, their initial flirtations during the first stages of the process -- when teams are allowed only to discuss hypothetical deals with agents and not make actual deals with players -- have focused on cornerback Alterraun Verner of the Titans and defensive end Arthur Jones of the Ravens.
The Giants likely will need to replace either Justin Tuck or Linval Joseph -- or both -- on their defensive line, so their interest in Jones, who could play inside or outside in their 4-3 scheme, is not much of a surprise. But their courting of Verner, considered to be the top cornerback available, does come as a surprise, especially because he could be in the $10 million to $12 million per year range.
And as for rebuilding the offensive line, a stated offseason goal of co-owner John Mara? The Giants have been oddly quiet when it comes to the top names available and seem to be waiting for what general manager Jerry Reese calls the "second wave'' of players, or possibly the draft, which is exceedingly deep in offensive linemen.