Will wide receiver Hakeem Nicks be with the Giants after this season, when his contract expires? The former first-round pick was vague about his answer in interviews on Wednesday.
Nicks was asked on ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike” program if he wanted to remain a Giant long-term and if he was willing to sacrifice some money with a home-town discount.
“My main focus is just getting into this season and being healthy and contributing to the team the best way possible,” Nicks said. “I love the Giants organization and I'm very happy to be a Giant.”
Whether he’ll be with the Giants beyond 2013 remains a mystery. His original rookie deal expires after next season, meaning he’ll be an unrestricted free agent. The Giants have the option of using the franchise tag on Nicks, meaning he’d be with the team for at least the 2014 season as long as he is tendered to a contract offer worth the average of the NFL’s top five receivers.
Nicks missed the Giants’ Official Team Activity sessions (OTAs), which are voluntary, but participated in last week’s mandatory mini-camp. Had he missed the mini-camp, he would have been subjected to fines.
Nicks insisted his absence wasn’t related to his contract.
“I really don’t talk about my contract in the media and stuff like that,” he said. “But contract wasn’t related.”
Nicks said he isn’t worried about any timing issues because of his absence from most of the off-season conditioning program. Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said last week he was concerned about the absence of Nicks and Victor Cruz, who last Friday signed a one-year contract.
“I can only speak on my behalf,” Nicks said in an interview on NFL Network. “I feel like with the offense, I know it like the back of my hand now. I can pick right back up where I left off at. Just make sure my body is back to par and I will be fully go.”
Nicks said he and head coach Tom Coughlin, who publicly expressed frustration with Nicks missing OTAs, are getting along well. The two spoke before last week’s mini-camp to iron out any miscommunication. Nicks had indicated to Coughlin that he would attend OTA sessions, which is why Coughlin expressed irritation when he didn’t show up.
“Yeah, we are on good terms,” Nicks said. “I understand where Coach Coughlin was coming from. I could have done a better job of reaching out to him. But it is in the past now. I was at minicamp and we are all on the same page now and I look forward to training camp.”