John Fennelly, Lead Writer
Wide receiver, perhaps the most talented and deepest unit on the Giants’ roster, is suddenly riddled with questions. Victor Cruz is not attending OTAs, still seeking to avoid playing for his tender price while hoping to score a new, long-term contract.
Now comes a report that his counterpart, Hakeem Nicks, may be planning to go a similar route. Nicks is in the final year of his rookie deal and will be a UFA after this season. Although his representatives refute the notion that his absence at yesterday’s OTA was not contract-related, Giants pundits and fans’ imaginations are running wild this morning.
The Giants’ front office is way ahead of curve on the situation. They drafted Jerrel Jernigan in the third round of the draft three years ago, and by all indications, is ready to step into a role. So is last year’s second-rounder, Rueben Randle.
Perhaps the most impressive receiver in camp these days is the speedy Louis Murphy, the free-agent pickup who can get downfield in a hurry. Yesterday, we learned Ramses Barden was coming in for a physical and, if all goes well, could be back in Blue by sundown.
Jerry Reese is taking no chances. Cruz and Nicks will be Giants this season, but how long they stay in Blue beyond that is still uncertain. The Giants may be able to find a way to keep both of them. The odds are, only one of them stays. Reese knows he needs to prepare for a loss here. Looks like he’s doing that.
Keep in mind, players come and go in this league and with the Giants’ WRs it’s no different. QB Eli Manning has had several groups over the years. He started with Amani Toomer and Ike Hilliard. Then came Steve Smith, Plaxico Burress, David Tyree and Domenik Hixon. Mario Manningham came and went. Now Nicks and Cruz. The list will surely go on.
Not that we want to see Nicks and Cruz playing elsewhere, but reality and a little thing called the salary cap will have a lot to say about their futures.
GEICO SportsNite has the latest from Giants OTA’s as Hakeem Nicks surprises the team by holding out in hopes of a new contract.