So, back on draft day 2009, as Mike Garafolo reported at the time, the New York Giants had their eye on Missouri wide receiver Jeremy Maclin in the first round. They'd worked out a deal with the Lions to trade up from No. 29 to No. 20 to pick Maclin if he was available. Once the Eagles traded up to No. 19 and took Maclin there, the deal was off and the Giants stayed put and took North Carolina wide receiver Hakeem Nicks instead.
Now, Nicks is a free agent coming off a disappointing year in which he failed to score a touchdown, and Maclin is a free agent coming off a year he missed after tearing his ACL during training camp. Giants fans (and possibly the Giants' coaching staff) are down on Nicks for a perceived deficiency of effort during the 2013 season, and Monday on Twitter I got this interesting question:
So I thought, "Good question, Steve," and I gave it some thought.
The first thing to understand about Maclin is that no one's going to offer him any kind of contract until he proves his knee is healthy. ACL injuries may not be as career-threatening scary as they were even a half-decade ago, but until Maclin shows teams he can run, the interest won't materialize. Assuming he does, though, there are likely to be many interested teams. Maclin turns 26 in May and has a long career ahead of him if he recovers fully. If he can demonstrate anything resembling his old speed, a one-year offer may not be enough to get it done.
And even if it were enough, you'd have to think he'd take a "prove-it" deal from the Eagles, no? He likes it there. Chip Kelly's offense looks as though it's a great deal of fun for a wide receiver. If it's down to one-year offers of similar value, Philadelphia would have to have the best chance, I would think.
So I guess my answer is this: A healthy Maclin would make sense for the Giants as a Nicks replacement, and the fact that they preferred him to Nicks on draft day 2009 shouldn't be discounted, as the same people are making their decisions now as were making them then. But if they do want to go that route, they're likely going to have to decide they're sold on the condition of his knee and willing to commit to him beyond just 2014. I would be surprised if that happened, but it can't be ruled out.