Dec 8, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers defensive back Darrell Stuckey (25) chases down New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (88) after a catch in the fourth quarter at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Where Should Hakeem Nicks Go In 2014 NFL Free Agency?

There is always a difference between where a player should and will land during an off-season.  For 2014 NFL free agency, where could the former be for Hakeem Nicks?

Carolina Panthers

Obviously this team makes the most sense for a number of reasons.  First of course is roster need.  Cam Newton can’t live off of Steve Smith anymore and it’s clear the Carolina Panthers have nobody of #1 receiver value to replace him.  Despite his quiet 2013 season, Nicks has the track record to fill that role as he did in New York, or at the very least take a lot of the pressure off the veteran Smith and perhaps pair with somebody the Panthers get in the draft.  There is also the connection with GM Dave Gettleman who was director of pro personnel in New York when Nicks was drafted.  Throw in the fact he was born in Charlotte and it seems like a perfect match.

San Diego Chargers

Getting a chance to play with a five-time Pro Bowl quarterback like Philip Rivers is never a bad thing.  The fact that the San Diego Chargers play in beautiful weather eight times out of the year also can’t hurt their chances to attract Hakeem Nicks, who has lived in the cold, blustery Big Apple since entering the league.  A change of scenery to warmer climates could perhaps lengthen his career and puff up his stats.  San Diego needs somebody to help compliment Keenan Allen.  Nicks has good size and speed for Rivers to use on the outside.

Indianapolis Colts

It’s hard to argue against this destination.  A stable franchise that plays in a dome, which caters the most to wide receivers.  They have plenty of money to pay him but most of all they have a blossoming superstar for a quarterback in Andrew Luck.  The Indianapolis Colts know they are getting closer to competing for a championship but there are still some holes left to fill.  Rounding out the receiving corps is one of them.  Reggie Wayne is aging and there isn’t anybody who could step up consistently opposite T.Y. Hilton.  Adding Hakeem Nicks on the outside could allow Wayne to do the bulk of his damage from the slot, perhaps extending his already superb career a few more seasons.  It also could give Nicks a bevy of more chances at a ring.

Oakland Raiders

The saying goes with almost any business.  “Follow the money.”  The Oakland Raiders need to upgrade their receiving corps while they continue their search for a quarterback.  They currently possess the most salary cap space at over $60 million.  Like San Diego they are on the west coast in nice weather.  If Nicks is willing to gamble on their quarterback plans, his biggest payday may come from them.  Offensive coordinator Greg Olson is respected and particularly proven with veteran receivers as he showed with the likes of Isaac Bruce, Tory Holt and Vincent Jackson.

It’s safe to say there is no shortage of options available to Hakeem Nicks.  What it comes down to is how important the balance is between winning and money.  The contenders for his services will become clear once that is answered.

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: 2014 Nfl Free Agency Carolina Panthers Hakeem Nicks Indianapolis Colts Oakland Raiders San Diego Chargers

  • Austin New

    What about the Chiefs?! They have just as good of a chance to sign him as any of the above mentioned teams.

    • Julien Bélair

      The chiefs would be a better landing spot than the Chargers because the Chargers are not going to overpay this guy

      • Erik Lambert

        True, but Nicks himself referenced the Chargers as a possible new home. The Chiefs could pursue him but I doubt they will since the bulk of their money will go towards keeping the offensive line intact.

    • Panther Hines

      The writer is speaking about the three teams Nicks mentioned yesterday

  • Padraigh Keogh

    Chargers can’t afford him. I know he will be looking for big money. Would prefer to draft a receiver in 1st round than pay alot of money to someone who might or might not be any good. He could be another Robert Meacham .

    • Erik Lambert

      He said himself he wouldn’t mind taking a one-year deal. Why not try to sign him and save that first round pick for a corner or a top offensive lineman?

      • Panther Hines

        Nicks said yesterday, in the same quote where he mentioned those 3 teams, that he wanted a long term deal and to be happy

        • Erik Lambert

          True, he wants a long-term deal but he understands he may have to settle for a one-year to prove he’s not declining.

          • Panther Hines

            Not for a middle of the pack team like SD and def not Oakland. Aside of the weather, what are they really offering? A chance to play for one year and prove he can still play for a team chasing Denver and KC? If he took a small deal and played well, what would be his incentive to stay with that team the following year? He said he wants a long term deal and there’s def someone who will pay it. And if your not in the top two in your division then you prob dont have any leverage at all to ecen approach him with a small deal. Hes finishing his rookie deal, this is where NFL players get their biggest opportunity to cash in and he knows it. No way he takes a chance getting hurt again on a 1 year deal, none at all

    • Panther Hines

      How could Nicks be Robert Meachem? Lol. Drafting a WR is the 1st round and not knowing what you’re getting is EXACTLY what Meachem was before SD paid him!! Nicks has some pretty nasty numbers even with his injuries, he also jas had the most INT throwing QB in the NFL throwing him the ball. Nicks has elite talent and massive hands and proven he can beat corners in the NFL. As a Panthers fan, I hope SD does bow out…

  • 757Raiderfan

    I would like Nicks to come to Oakland. At the very least mentor some of these young receivers

    • Erik Lambert

      You certainly have the cash to make it happen.