Give Hakeem Nicks the Benefit of the Doubt

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistMay 31, 2013

Sep 16, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA;  New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (88) poses for cameras after scoring a second quarter touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports
Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

We've experienced fear mongering in regard to restricted free agent Victor Cruz all offseason. But suddenly, there's uproar in New York regarding the Giants' other starting wide receiver, Hakeem Nicks.

See, Nicks hasn't been present at organized team activities, which for many is cause for concern. That despite the fact Nicks' agent, Peter Schaffer, has insisted all along that his client's absence isn't related to his contract, which expires after the 2013 season.


Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has voiced his frustration, which is fine and understandable, but let's remember that these workouts are voluntary, not mandatory. If Nicks is sending a message despite what his agent says, so be it. If he's just busy with another part of life that we aren't privy to, that's cool. 

This is a guy who suffered a fairly devastating injury at this very point during OTAs last season. Maybe he just doesn't feel comfortable jumping into the fray in May this time around, especially if he isn't fully prepared to take the field without limitations. 

The reality is that Nicks has earned the right to stay away. This isn't an ideal situation, and it would be nice if he had kept the lines of communication a little more open so that Coughlin wouldn't be left in the dark, but the guy has taken 3,260 snaps in 55 games in this offense. He knows Eli Manning and Cruz and everyone else. Time away won't change the fact that he's extremely familiar with and comfortable in the offense. 

Common sense indicates Nicks will be back before missing a beat. He can't hold out during training camp without dealing with daily $30,000 fines and the Giants have the lion's share of the leverage with the franchise tag in their back pocket. They have Nicks right where they want and need him, so if the 25-year-old wants to sulk or just take some time to himself, let it happen. 

He'll be back, and he'll be motivated to put on a show in his contract year. That's a good thing.