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Hakeem Nicks: Fireworks or Explosion?

Steve Shoup

By Guest Writer Bryan Bostic:

The Indianapolis Colts Signed former NY Giants WR Hakeem Nicks to a 1 year deal worth $3.5 Million and has incentives in it that can raise the contract value up to $5.5 million. The question is will this signing be one that pays huge dividends or will it be a bust of great proportions? Before you go off of last year’s stats alone, take a look at Hakeem Nicks history. He was a standout WR at the University of North Carolina where he set records in receiving yards and receiving TDs in a season. He also set records in career receptions, receiving yards, and receiving TDs. He was the NY Giants 1st round pick, number 29 overall in the 2009 NFL draft. In that first round alone, there were 4 receivers selected in front of him; they include: Michael Crabtree, Darius Heyward-Bey, Jeremy Maclin, and Percy Harvin.

In his rookie year, he was partnered with Steve Smith, Mario Manningham, and Dominek Hixon to form a collectively strong receiving core. In 2010, he improved on his rookie campaign by recording his first 1,000 yard season and adding 11 TDs along the way. In 2011, he showed just how valuable he can be when he is on the field. While he was being overshadowed by a new sensation by the Name of Victor Cruz, Nicks recorded his second straight 1,000 receiving season including 7 TDs. While Victor Cruz was the new fad, Nicks quietly became the proven & reliable commodity amongst the receiving core. Fueled by the Giants high powered offense, Eli, Nicks, Cruz, and Ballard led the Giants to an NFC East Divisional title and playoff berth where they played the Atlanta Falcons in the Wildcard round. Hakeem had 6 catches for 115 and 2 TDs as the Giants defeated the Falcons effortlessly with a score of 24-2. In the divisional round they played the #1 Seeded Green Bay Packers Hakeem had 7 catches for 165 yards and 2 TDs (one TD being on a Hail Mary before halftime) as the Giants beat the Packers 37-20 to advance to the NFC conference game against the San Francisco 49ers. In a slugfest back-and-fourth football game that went into overtime, the Giants beat the 49ers 20-17 to advance to their 5th Superbowl in franchise history where it would be a Superbowl rematch against the New England Patriots. While Nicks only had 55 yards receiving against the 49ers, his presence helped the Giants overcome the vaunted 49ers defense. He capped off his stellar performance by going for 109 receiving yards on 10 catches despite the Patriots efforts to double team him. His tremendous performance helped the Giants overcome the Patriots yet again and obtain their 4th Lombardi Trophy in Giants history.

In mid-2012 at voluntary OTAs Nicks broke a bone in his foot and was not quite right the whole season. His 2012 was rather forgettable; he recorded only 692 receiving yards, and 3 TDs even though he played in 13 games. The Giants expected a bounce back year for him in 2013 with a full offseason under his belt to recover but that didn’t happen either. In 2013 he logged 56 receptions for 896 receiving yards but 0 TDs. That was a big reason why the NY Giants decided to let their former 1st round pick leave via free agency to the Indianapolis Colts. However, one team’s trash is another team’s treasure. The Colts have virtually nothing at WR behind Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton. Wayne is coming off of an ACL tear which only gets tougher to come back from when you are older and T.Y. Hilton is not a #1 WR but instead a dynamic slot receiver. The Darrius Heyward-Bey experiment was a failure to say the least, which left youngsters Da’Rick Rogers and LaVon Brazill to carry the load at the WR position. While both Rogers and Brazill has serious potential (especially Rogers), they still need time to be groomed and work their way into the rotation naturally instead of by injury (Wayne) and poor play of a former 1st round pick (Heyward-Bey). The Colts needed to address the interior of their line and the WR core this offseason in order to keep Andrew Luck upright and lead him into a deep playoff run. The addition of Nicks to a WR core that has Reggie Wayne opposite him and Hilton in the Slot, gives Luck ample targets to throw to throughout the season.

On a one year “Prove-It” deal worth a max of $5.5 million, the Colts can afford to make this gamble as it may bring them another Lombardi Trophy. While in New York, Nicks reached the playoffs one time in his career. The Colts are already expected to be in the playoffs and Nicks gives them that big time playmaker that every team needs to make a Superbowl run in the playoffs. This gamble differs from last year’s signing of Darrius Heyward-Bey because Darrius has always been viewed as a raw prospect that has speed but doesn’t have the hands to be a consistent threat in the NFL. This was proven this year as he was ineffective all season. Nicks will be effective and most importantly once playoff rime rolls around, he will not shy away from the pressure but instead embrace it. This move may not make the Colts produce a 16-0 record in the regular season but it further enhances their chances to make a Superbowl run in 2014. If he doesn’t show any improvement and reverts back to the Hakeem Nicks of 2012 and 2013, they can always chose not to resign him, but if he plays well as expected the Colts stole Nicks for a bargain price.

 

 



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