The Colts didn’t land wide receiver Eric Decker (The Jets? Really?!), but they remain in the hunt for help at the position. Former New York Giants wideout Hakeem Nicks (6-1, 208, 26 yrs. old) is planning a meeting with the team tomorrow.
WR Hakeem Nicks just told me, "I'm flying to Indy tonight. The plan is to meet with the Colts tomorrow."
— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) March 13, 2014
(Update) Of course, nothing is ever certain, as the Carolina Panthers have already made an offer to Nicks for around $4.5 million per year. That's a fair price, and the Colts could beat it, but bear in mind that Nicks is a native of Charlotte, NC.
Nicks had a bit of a drop off in efficiency last year after a stellar 2012 (11.1 Pro Football Focus grade, drop rate of only 3.64% on catchable balls). He gained more yards in 2013 (56 catches for 896 yards versus 53 for 692), but only caught 57% of his passes with an 11.11% drop rate – which still looks stellar next to DHB’s 23.68 (ouch) – and finished with a not-bad-but-average 0.1 grade, which, again is leaps and bounds ahead of Darrius Heyward-Bey’s -10.2.
The drop off for Nicks can be partially attributed to Giant’s QB Eli Manning having quite possibly the worst season of his 9-year career with a 69.4 QB rating, 57.5 completion rate and 27 interceptions.
Nicks has good size, is still fairly young, and has never missed more than three games in a season. These all look even better when factoring in how much less expensive he should be than former Bronco Eric Decker (though Decker’s contract with the Jets was lower than many predicted).
The Colts are going into the season with T.Y Hilton, who has developed into a legitimate number one, two unproven, not yet reliable youngsters, and Reggie Wayne, who is coming off an ACL surgery in the twilight of his storied career.
According to an older but oft-cited study in the American Journal of Sports medicine, nearly four out of five WR’s and RB’s come back the following year form ACL tears, and on average, they manage about 67% of their previous year’s production.
That’s great news for Wayne’s return, but it would be unfair to expect him to carry the team on third down again, or to expect the same level of production as before. Wayne, already more of a technically sound, smart receiver than a speedster, will still be very good, but a repeat of 5.4 catches and 71 yards per game is not realistic, at least not this year.
No matter how excited we are about Griff Whalen’s hands or Da’Rick Rodgers’s height, the fact remains neither is the complete package, and the Colts need another receiver who can contribute right away. Nicks would take immense pressure off Wayne and Hilton while the Colts continue to see if their younger guys are going to amount to develop into long term options.