NFL Trade Deadline: Could Cleveland Browns Have Interest in Hakeem Nicks?

Updated: October 17, 2013

With the 2013 NFL Trade Deadline rapidly approaching on October 29th, many General Managers and league analysts are expecting a handful of big name players to change teams. Among those names, and perhaps one of the biggest, belongs to New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks. Back in September, the Giants and Detroit Lions were rumored to be in discussions to swap Nicks for running back Mikel LeShoure. The deal never came to fruition, but now that the Giants are likely out of the playoff race, they will be thinking ahead to next season and the 2014 NFL Draft.

After making a splash following Week 2 by dealing 2012 No. 3 overall pick, Trent Richardson, the Browns could have their sights set on making a deal in the other direction. With two first-round picks, a second rounder, two third and two fourth-round picks at their disposal, the Browns are certainly in play to make a move for Nicks. While picks are a valuable commodity, a team full of rookies requires a long waiting period to develop, acquiring a veteran in exchange for one should be welcomed in Cleveland.

According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, “Teams view Nicks as the best option available and with the Giants in a free-fall, big changes possibly on the way there, and Nicks a potential unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, other general managers want to hear for themselves just how amenable to a trade Giants GM Jerry Reese might be. Several GMs contacted believed the Giants could get at least a third-round pick for Nicks, even if he is just a late-season “rental” who then hits the open market in March.”

Surrendering a third-round pick for the fully-stocked Browns, who are in possession of seven picks in the first four rounds, is of no issue. The issue would be insuring that they could get a commitment from Nicks to sign a contract extension, given his pending free agency at the end of the season. For that to happen, they would need to convince Nicks that they would have an elite quarterback to throw him passes in 2014, whether that be their belief in Brian Hoyer or their assurance of a selecting a first-round passer in the NFL Draft.

Nicks is an elite talent when healthy, the fifth-year receiver out of the University of North Carolina seemingly can catch everything that is put near him. Taken in the first round (No. 29) of the 2009 NFL Draft, Nicks has since then racked up 280 receptions, 4,168 receiving yards and 27 touchdowns. Those numbers far eclipse anything on the Browns current roster, which features Davone Bess’ 3,670 yards and 12 touchdowns. Regardless of who is at the helm for Cleveland next year, a receiving core that boasts Josh Gordon, Jordan CameronHakeem Nicks and Bess sounds to be a pretty ideal situation.

NFL Free Agency opens at the start of the new league year on March 11, 2014, but the 2014 NFL Draft doesn’t kick off until May 8, 2014. That time-frame would make it difficult for Nicks to forecast who the Browns could select to be their quarterback, so much of it could come down dollars and cents, and perhaps if he was paying attention to the Hoyer-led Browns winning streak recently. The Browns have shown they are willing to move aggressively in pursuit of championships, so do not be surprised to see them make a power-play for Nicks in the coming weeks.

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