It’s been a whirlwind week on the Hakeem Nicks’ trade front. Jason La Canfora over at CBS indicated on Sunday that two teams, the San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons, have had internal discussions about acquiring Nicks. The report also brings up the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots as possibilities.
Adam Schefter over at ESPN also indicated that the Giants are willing to listen to offers for, but are not actively shopping, Hicks.
We have learned through credible sources that the Patriots and 49ers are the two favorites to acquire Nicks and are well on their way to preparing offers for the soon-to-be free agent.
This isn’t much of a surprise considering that both the Patriots and 49ers are dealing with injuries and a lack of depth at wide receiver. Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham have yet to play a single down for the 49ers, while free-agent signing Danny Amendola is again sidelined, this time with a concussion. The Patriots have also been without tight end Rob Gronkowski for the first six weeks of the season.
Previous reports showed that the 49ers were interested in Cleveland Browns’ wide receiver Josh Gordon, who may or may not still be on the market. Those reports, published here at Pro Football Central, indicated that San Francisco wasn’t willing to offer a second-round pick (said to be the starting-off point for negotiations) in return for Gordon.
It remains to be seen what the Giants would ask in return for Nicks, who has recorded 25 receptions for 442 yards this season. They are currently 0-6 and completely out of the NFC playoff race. Add into the extension Victor Cruz signed prior to the season and it appears that Nicks will move on as a free agent following the season. If the Giants are able to get something worthwhile in return, they would be smart to listen.
San Francisco has the arsenal to pull the trigger. It will likely end up with at least five picks in the first three rounds of the 2014 NFL draft. With that said, general manager Trent Baalke has been what you would call a stickler when it comes to keeping his options opens on draft day. For the most part, it has worked out well for the 49ers as they have moved up and down the draft over the past three seasons. The 49ers may also be okay with gambling on the returns of Manningham and Crabtree. If so, they could easily just be doing their due diligence on the trade market.
New England may not have as many picks next May, but it does possess a huge need for a true No. 1 wide receiver on a roster void of consistent receiving threats.
Both teams have the capability to retain Nicks long term, so this wouldn’t likely be a rent-a-player situation.
We are two weeks away from the NFL trade deadline, so you can expect to hear a lot more rumors surrounding Nicks.
Vincent is the head sports editor at eDraft, co-host of eDraft Sports Radio (which airs every Tuesday and Thursday from 3-6 p.m. ET) and a fantasy writer for Pro Football Focus. He’s also the news director at PFC and co-host of Football Debate Central with Ryan Riddle every Friday. He’s also a former league-wide featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a contributor at Yahoo!