NFL Offseason: Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz Should Think Twice About Holding Out
While not the biggest deal in the world—after all, they are called voluntary for a reason—it does raise an eyebrow or two when looking into what this possibly may mean for the future.
According to NFL.com's Chris Wesseling, Nicks is taking the alternate route to Cruz by playing out the remaining year of his rookie contract. That rookie contract will pay Nicks about $3.7 million this year before he becomes an unrestricted free agent next year. However, actions speak louder than words. In fact, just ask head coach Tom Coughlin, who expected Nicks to miss a day of OTAs but show up thereafter.
In an NFL.com article written by Kimberly Jones, Coughlin elaborated on the thought that Nicks would be there, saying, "At one point, Hakeem told me that he was going to be here, and then he was not here."
On the other hand, it has been noted numerous times that Victor Cruz is in search of a big contract. The star wide receiver and the Giants organization have been negotiating for quite some time. However, nothing has come to fruition and both sides are still negotiating.
Since coming into the league as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Massachusetts, Cruz has put up big numbers after breaking through in a Week 3 game against the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2011-12 season. Since then, he has caught 168 passes for 2,628 yards and 19 touchdowns. In addition, he is the record holder for the most receiving yards in a single season in New York Giants history.
While being grossly underpaid, he has been in talks with the Giants throughout the course of the last year. However, a long-term deal could not be agreed upon, so the Giants slapped him with a first-round tender. That means he will make almost $2.9 million this year before becoming an unrestricted free agent next year.
So while both guys remain MIA, it may be in the interest of both to show up and work with the team.
Nothing emphasizes this more than looking at past NFL players and their results from holding out. Instead of looking at high-profile players, such as running backs Chris Johnson and Maurice Jones-Drew, let's take a look at now-Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson and current Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe.
In 2010, Vincent Jackson was coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and in search of a new deal. The Chargers would not budge, and it led to a lengthy holdout. Actually, he didn't sign until midway through the season. The result was catastrophic, as he had 14 receptions for 24 yards and three touchdowns in only five games played.
Dwayne Bowe had a similar holdout situation just this past year. Bowe was also coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and was in search of a new deal. He was given a franchise tag worth $9.5 million but didn't sign until August 17. His statistics dipped as well, as he caught 59 passes for 801 yards and three touchdowns. This was down from the previous year, when he caught 81 balls for 1.159 yards and five touchdowns.
Hopefully, Cruz and Nicks' agents are well aware of the ramifications of a possible holdout on their player's performances. Injuries, such as the hamstring issue New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis went through, may occur as well as a drop in their own statistics.
So let this be a warning for Cruz and Nicks: If you are going to hold out, don't. It will end up hurting you more than you think.
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