New York Giants
Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel |
With it appearing more and more certain that receiver Hakeem Nicks, an unrestricted free agent, will not be returning to the Giants, general manager Jerry Reese was asked if Rueben Randle, last year's No. 3 receiver who started three games, could be a possible replacement.
"The jury's still out on that," Reese said. "I think he's a good player. I'm not sure if he's a one, if he's a two, (or) if he's a three, but I think he can contribute to our receiver corps."
Nicks, who will officially become a free agent Tuesday, wants to let teams know he is medically cleared, according to documents obtained by ESPN.
Nicks has been slowed by foot and knee injuries the past two seasons, but medical documents reportedly show he is fully healthy.
Nicks has played 28 games the past two seasons, but his production dropped off since the Giants made him a first-round draft choice in 2009. He combined on 89 catches for 1,588 yards with three touchdowns in 2012 and '13.
Dr. Robert Anderson, who performed foot surgery on Nicks in May 2012, wrote to teams that a recent MRI revealed no ankle or foot problems that would prevent Nicks from resuming a productive career.
Dr. James Andrews endorsed the health of Nicks' left knee. Andrews repaired the PCL in his knee in September 2012 and wrote that the knee is "completely healed" and he had no hesitation about recommending teams to consider signing him.
Copies of the doctors' letters were obtained by ESPN's Chris Mortensen on Saturday through a league source.
Nicks reportedly is open to returning to the Giants but if he does not re-up with them, he wants to go to a team with a proven quarterback. A league source told ESPN that Nicks is willing to consider a one-year contract to show the last two seasons were an anomaly.
One of the positions where the Giants will need to address their depth is at running back.
Currently, the Giants have two unrestricted free agents, Andre Brown and Peyton Hillis, and have lost Brandon Jacobs to retirement.
The team does have two players under contract, including Michael Cox, who's entering his second season, and David Wilson, who is recovering from a surgical procedure on his neck.
The early thinking is that Brown will be re-signed. However, the biggest question mark is where Wilson's recovery will be when the time comes.
General manager Jerry Reese, in an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio, reiterated that the club believes the third-year running back will make a full recovery and resume his career.
"He's a young kid. If he was 33, he'd probably have to tap out. But I think he's 23 so the young guys I think they heal a lot sooner these days with modern medicine. So we expect him to make a full recovery and play for us this fall."
With that said, there is a bit of ambiguity regarding exactly when Wilson can expect to receive the green light to resume football activities. That's why Reese reiterated that the team is going to look elsewhere to add depth to the position just in case Wilson isn't ready.
"We can't put all of our eggs in one basket," he said. "Our No. 1 goal is for (Wilson) to be healthy. We'll continue to look for a running back, (and) a veteran, and there are some pretty good prospects in this draft as well."
Reese was asked about the team possibly bringing back Ahmad Bradshaw, whom they cut in a salary-cap related move last offseason.
Bradshaw is going to be 28 years old, but after playing just three games for the Colts, he landed on injured reserve to have surgery on his neck.
"We keep all of our options open, so we're open to whatever can help us win football games," he said.
Nicks has hired CAA Sports to represent him in his upcoming free-agent negotiations, and Jay Z's Roc Nation to handle his marketing opportunities.
The 26-year old Nicks is coming off two sub-par seasons which saw him fail to record a touchdown pass in his last 18 regular-season games.
He's also dealt with significant injuries to his knee and foot, which were believed to be responsible for his production decline in 2012.
However, several sources have indicated that Nicks is unlikely to return to the Giants.
Head coach Tom Coughlin strongly hinted that the Giants might be ready to move on from the receiver.
"You'd basically like to have all of your free agents back. That doesn't happen," he said, adding of Nicks, "I'm sure that the market will be where Hakeem will go."
Since Reese became general manager in 2007, the Giants have resisted the urge to trade out of their first-round slot, regardless of where they stood in the pecking order.
That could change, however, this year, as Reese indicated that the Giants are open to moving back in the draft, a move which if they were to make would be their first time doing so since 2006 when they exchanged the 25th overall pick with the Steelers, who drafted 32nd that year. As a result, the Giants were able to get defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka of Boston College.
"We'll try and get the best player available on the board," Reese told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine. "We'll keep our options open there. If someone wants to come up to 12 and entertain us moving back, we'll consider that as well."
There's still some time before free agency begins on March 11, but the Giants' free agency strategy seems to once again hinge on being patient.
"The last couple of years it's been a pretty saturated free agent market," noted general manager Jerry Reese.
"If there are guys you like and you have the money, people go get them. If you can hold your water, we think there will probably be some guys available in that second and third waves."
With that said, Reese seems willing to allow pending unrestricted free agents such as defensive end Justin Tuck and receiver Hakeem Nicks to test the market.
"You never know, but those guys deserve to see what they're worth in the market," he said.
They could also be taking the same strategy with linebacker Jon Beason, with whom they've reportedly had preliminary conversations about a new deal.
However, Reese, who said that the 2014 roster is "going to be significantly different" stressed that if a team has the money to get a guy they like, they'll do so, but that, "We think right now it's best to wait and see what the market is and then make our moves from there."
Head coach Tom Coughlin revealed that he has agreed to a one-year contract extension that will take him through the 2015 season.
Coughlin, who signed a three-year extension after winning Super Bowl XLVI in 2011, will turn 68 years old in August. That previous extension was due to expire after the 2014 season.
He said at the end of last season that he still has the desire to coach, and noted in announcing his forthcoming extension, which was agreed to prior to his arrival to at the combine but which hasn't yet been signed that he never had any concerns about it getting it done.
The Giants organization has long believed in providing a sense of stability as far as its head coaching position is concerned. As a result, it has historically ensured that its head coaches don't enter the "lame duck" status of their contracts.
Head coach Tom Coughlin offered some updates on a few of the Giants' injured players.
On quarterback Eli Manning, who suffered a high ankle sprain in the regular-season finale against Washington: "The last I saw him he felt good. He could get up on his toes. I don't know if he would call himself 100 percent, but he was well on his way."
On defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who missed the final five games of the 2013 season with a shoulder injury: "At this point in time, he's on schedule. There was no surgery involved, so hopefully he's going to return back to feeling the way he has in the past."
On guard Chris Snee, who had surgeries on both hips and on his elbow last year: "He's progressing well. He's building himself back up. He feels good and he's looking forward to feeling better. All I can tell you is that he's making very good progress."
On running back David Wilson, who underwent spinal fusion surgery on January 21 to repair a herniated disc in his neck: "I really don't know the answer to that question," he said, contradicting a report by ESPN earlier this week that claimed Wilson could be ready for training camp.
"He's not going to be put out there unless he's ready for that. I'm not even sure how he's going to be limited in the spring. We're not going to put him out there unless he really, really believes in himself again and the doctors believe he'll be ready to go."