Dan Graziano | ESPN.com
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks said he is aware that his name has come up in trade rumors, but so far no one in the organization has said anything to him about it and, as of now, he expects to finish the season with the team.
“I’m a Giant, and that’s the only thing I can focus on right now,” Nicks said after practice Monday morning. “I’m a Giant, and I love playing for the Giants. I’m a Giant right now, and I’m going to stand strong on that.”
Nicks is in the final year of his contract. The team signed wide receiver Victor Cruz to a long-term deal in the offseason and has made second-year wide receiver Rueben Randle a significant part of the passing game, even as he continues to develop. Randle has been targeted 43 times to Nicks’ 46 and Cruz’s 60.
With the Giants 0-6 and all but out of the playoff hunt well in advance of the Oct. 29 trade deadline, Nicks’ name is one of the more prominent to be brought up in speculation about who could be dealt to a receiver-needy contender such as the New England Patriots or San Francisco 49ers. And there are plenty of reasons it would make sense for them to get something for him if they were sure they weren’t going to bring him back next season.
An NFL source said that the Giants have yet to entertain any Nicks trade talk, though the source acknowledged that things could change as the deadline got closer. The team hasn’t ruled out bringing Nicks back for 2014, and the plan all along was to see how he played in 2013 after a 2012 season in which he was limited by injury and then decide whether (and at what cost) to make him a part of its future plays.
Nicks said he tries to block out “outside talk,” but that he’s heard some of this. He has not approached Giants general manager Jerry Reese or anyone else in the organization to ask about his status.
“I’m sure they’ve got enough respect for me to come to me and talk to me about a situation like that,” Nicks said. “As of now, I’m a Giant. At the end of the day, business is business. But I haven’t been getting any whiff of anything like that. I’m a Giant right now, and I’m going to enjoy it, and we’ve got to start winning games.”
Coach Tom Coughlin preached a focus on nothing beyond the upcoming game, and the locker room to this point continues to buy into that in spite of the dismal results and a record that’s unprecedented for nearly all of the players.
Running back Brandon Jacobs said that a trade of a key veteran could be damaging to the team’s efforts to stay together during tough times.
“The business part of it is the business part of it, but depending on the person, it could be a dagger,” Jacobs said. “I think it would definitely hurt, with us in a vulnerable state right now.”
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- New Jersey native and author of two published novels