When Steve Smith did not get up on Sunday after falling awkwardly to the ground, Panthers nation didn't know what to do with itself. Cam looked shaken and clearly upset, as his mentor and favorite target was in obvious pain on the ground. Rivera too was shaken though composed, as was (presumably) Gettleman. All three of them knew one plain and simple fact, if Steve Smith turns out to have a serious injury then this already slow offense would be in trouble. Arguably one of the greatest third round picks ever, Steve Smith has been "The Guy" for the Panthers since they moved him to wide receiver. Cam has not know the NFL without him, and judging by the look on his face he didn't want to find out. While the emotional loss of Steve hurts the team, the elephant in the room comes from who plays #1 if he goes down. Unfortunately the Panthers have no viable replacement. This is where another wide receiver, who was on the field that day, comes in.
Hakeem Nicks and the Giants are in a curious situation. Two years removed from a Super Bowl, the Giants are looking like they are on the brink of a full rebuild. While there are some positions they look great at, there are many that need work. The Giants have many holes to fill and a very limited amount of cap space to use while doing it, all while Hakeem is coming off his rookie contract. The problem lies in the fact that they just signed his team mater Victor Cruz to a huge deal. The question is: Can the Giants afford to sign both Cruz and Nicks? While it is a nice luxury for them, I do not believe so. I think they let him walk in the off season, which is where the Panthers come in.
The Panthers are in dire need of a #1 wide receiver, and Hakeem has a skill set that works well with Cam's. While normally I would not advocate trading a third round or higher pick, I think if Gettleman has the opportunity to make this call then he has to take it. There are many reasons for this, which I will discuss below.
Why This Trade Works for the Panthers
1. It gives them a future #1 to build around.
2. It is a 3rd round pick, allowing them to move in different directions with their first two picks.
3. It gives the team insurance for if Steve Smith gets hurt.
4. It gives Cam the much needed red zone target.
5. Immediate impact player. (Obviously he would have to learn the playbook and language.)
This works well for the Panthers because it solves the problem of having no great future at wide receiver. Nicks (in my opinion) is a clear #1 and would immediately have an impact on the Panthers. Having Hakeem doesn't magically buy Cam more time in the pocket, but it sure does give him a target to hit. I personally believe Cam having a big target will greatly help him as a passer. Gettleman may too share this belief with the supposed rumors of his love for Eifert for Cam unless some Star were to fall in our laps. While this trade works for the Panthers, it works for the Giants too.
Why This Trade Works for the Giants:
1. Frees the franchise tag.
2. Frees the worry of having to give Hakeem a big contract.
3. Allows them to spend on other areas (OL).
4. Gives Randle a chance to shine.
This trade works well for the Giants as well because of many reasons. It frees the franchise tag if they had plans to use it on Hakeem, or if they had plans to give him a big contract it frees all of that money up. While committing to Hakeem is not bad, that team has a bunch of holes to tie up a ton of money in one position (who would do that?). This move also gives Randle a chance to shine next to Cruz. The second round pick in 2012 has had time to mature, now he has to show the world what he can do.
Now many of you may not think it is as easy as a third round pick trade, but I disagree. Going into a rebuild, teams want as many picks as they can. If Hakeem walks, the best the Giants get is a third compensatory pick, which is not guaranteed. If the Panthers are willing to guarantee a better pick for the same result, the Giants would be hard pressed to turn it down. The value seems about right, as the Dolphins traded Brandon Marshall(imo a better receiver) in the 2012 off season, though the situations were different. One can argue though that Hakeem may not be the happiest person right now, after all he can't throw himself the ball. The Browns showed teams are willing to move from marquee players, we just have to hope the Panthers are that team.
I hope the Panthers find a way to trade for Hakeem. I think this move benefits both franchises, though this could be from a biased opinion. I think Hakeem would be perfect here in Carolina and allow us to double dip OL in the next draft without worrying about getting Cam a target. And I think Nicks-1 Ginn/LaFell-2 Smith-3 and Olsen-TE becomes a very formidable group of receivers. Maybe its a fools hope, but I will continue to do so.
*Note: This is my first fanpost, I hope you guys enjoy it. If I get enough positive feedback I may write more pieces. Or if I get negative feedback I can simply say I am not the man for the job and appreciate CSR's staff even more! Thanks for your time guys!