Cruz's lobbying unlikely to bring back Nicks

New York Giants wide receivers Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks are close friends. Nicks was a mentor to Cruz early in his career, and the two have spent time over the past three years breaking down film together, discussing the challenges of fatherhood and helping each other be better on the field. So it's no surprise that Cruz says he wants Nicks, who's eligible for unrestricted free agency, back with the Giants in 2014. Per The Star-Ledger:

"I have (asked him to stay)," Cruz said. "Selfishly, I would love for him to stay."

But Cruz is not the Giants' general manager, and when Jerry Reese makes the business decision on this, I think it's unlikely that the Giants bring Nicks back. Giants coaches were obviously aggravated with Nicks' on-field performance in 2013 and his casual attitude about it. There's a chance that early-career leg injuries have sapped Nicks of some of his speed and explosiveness, and the Giants would know that better than any other team would. However, Nicks' past does include high-level performance as a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver, and he's still only 26 years old. So I believe there will be teams interested in giving him the contract he wants, or at least something close to it. And when that bidding begins, I expect the Giants to bow out.

As with all of their free agents, there's a number at which the Giants would welcome Nicks back. But I think the only chance he has of returning is if there doesn't turn out to be a market for him in free agency and he comes crawling back to them willing to sign for their number. By that time, they may have already replaced him.