The Ceiling has Fallen in New York, and the 49ers Should Reap the Benefits

49ers

Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants
Sean McMahon, 49ersLife.com

 

The New York Football Giants are not a quality NFL team. I withheld judgement on them until today, and thought they would stand up and fight against a very good Chiefs football team. Not to say that I thought they would win, but I definitely envisioned a more competitive game than the 31-7 score dictated.

Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks underwhelmed for the second straight week today, hauling in only 3 receptions for 33 yards and no touchdowns. He did have 9 targets, but did little with them. There was a combination of bad throws and drops, and it is no mystery that Nicks is unhappy with his role in the offense.

Nicks has been vocal in his disdain for quarterback Eli Manning and the Giants offense, stating that “he can’t throw the ball to himself” after receiving only one target and no catches in a 38-0 blowout in Carolina last week. It has since been talked down, but I always think comments like that hold a certain truth – much like the grumbles of an angry drunk.

As a rookie in 2009, Nicks signed a 5-year, $12,540,000 contract, making him an unrestricted free agent upon the culmination of the 2013 season. There is no doubt that Nicks is talented, having two 1,000 yard seasons and surpassing the 10 touchdown barrier that is indicative of a red zone threat in 2010 when he accumulated 11 touchdown catches.

While the notion of acquiring a wide receiver of this magnitude is decently far-fetched, it is not unrealistic. The 49ers have the least potent wide receiver corps in the NFL, and could thrive with a talent like Hakeem Nicks opposite of 49ers offensive MVP Anquan Boldin. With the Giants scrambling, and the 49ers making the necessary adjustments to again be a quality football team, I believe that they should at least entertain the idea of bringing in an outside talent.

The 49ers have 13-draft picks in next May’s NFL draft, with five of them coming in the first three-rounds (a current third-rounder can become a second-rounder with only four more wins by the KC Chiefs). While we all know that 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke loves his draft picks, the 49ers have the opportunity to make a push for Nicks at a lower price than his talent is worth. With his contract up, and the Giants reeling, the trade waters will boil in New York as big blue looks beyond 2013.

It is highly unlikely that the 49ers would part with anything under a third-round pick, but I will rebuke the thoughts of the Red and Gold Nation and state that his value for the remainder of the season is worth said third-round pick. Shedding one draft pick will not impede Baalke from having another excellent draft in 2014, and to think otherwise is foolish. He has plenty of fire power to continue his draft wizardry, and I would expect nothing less from the draft guru.

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Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle have Made Nicks an Expendable Commodity

 

Victor Cruz is undoubtably the best wide receiver on the Giants, and second year LSU product Rueben Randle is very similar to Nicks in size and speed. While the ineptitude of the Giants offensive production is appalling, it is very much the product of a lackluster rushing attack. A duo of Cruz and Randle would produce in a quality situation, and with an extra draft pick, the Giants could shore up their obvious defensive issues.

This is just opinion – don’t over-analyze it. The Detroit Lions are rumored to be looking to acquire the services of Nicks, and if they do, their improved play (3-1 – just hammered the Bears) will make them relevant in wild card conversations with teams like the 49ers, Falcons, and Packers. It is more than trading for Nicks, it is blocking the opposition in your conference from improving and threatening the future of your team.

One of Jim Harbaugh’s weaknesses is his propensity to lean away from young talent in favor of older, less productive players. A name carries weight with Harbaugh, and with Nicks in tow, he would waste no time involving him in the offense due to his past production. By obtaining Nicks, the 49ers would become a very dangerous offensive unit, and could hold their ground in the NFC and continue to improve with the return of Michael Crabtree looming.

I am an advocate of at least trying to secure Nicks, with my only concern being injuries. It would definitely backfire if we were to trade for Nicks and wind up with zero production because of his soft ways. If he were to miss games due to injury, there is still the very real possibility that he would re-sign cheaper than anticipated for the team that was willing to invest in his talents. Money is tight in San Francisco, but you never know how things pan out until they actually do.

Nicks also has the size and strength to be physical with the defensive backs up North in Seattle, and would make the production of Frank Gore and the run game grow emphatically. What do you think Niner Nation?

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