East Rutherford- Hakeem Nicks is back in East Rutherford, but he is not the same player that he was back in 2011. That year, Nicks was one of the best receivers in the league, with 1192 yards receiving, 7 TDs, and 15.7 yards per catch. The receiving duo of Nicks and Victor Cruz helped the Giants seize the Lombardi Trophy over the New England Patriots. But in the three years since, Nicks has combined for only 1,993 yards and 7 TDs between the Giants and Colts.
This signing comes just days after Victor Cruz announced that he would need season-ending calf surgery. Cruz tore his patellar tendon while trying to catch a touchdown in Philadelphia back in October of 2014. This was supposed to be the year that the dynamic duo of Odell Beckham Jr. and Cruz began to dominate secondaries across the league. Now the Giants can’t expect their star receiver to be back until 2016, and by that point Cruz will most likely be a shell of his former self.
So what can the Giants expect from the 2015 Hakeem Nicks? Not much. His struggles with injuries and the continual decline in his performance left him unemployed in 2015. Nicks will most likely serve as a backup behind Beckham, Rueben Randle, and Dwayne Harris, with the occasional snap here and there. Harris has enjoyed a stellar 2015 and Randle has been solid enough to be an everyday starting wide receiver.
It is a great story, but the reality is Hakeem Nicks is not the same player he was back in 2011. He is also not the player who took the field for the Giants in 2013. The hope is that he may prove to be a solid backup that helps the Giants maintain their NFC East division lead. Nicks makes his return Sunday, November 29th, when the Giants take on the Redskins in Washington.