The Colts jumped into the free agency frenzy and signed former Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks to a one-year, $3.5 million deal late this afternoon. The deal reportedly contains an extra $2 million in incentives. The one-time fantasy superstar has a myriad of leg injuries and whispers about his desire have crept us as well, deflating his value and forcing him to accept this one-year “prove it” deal with the Colts. The signing of Nicks has a wide ranging impact from New York to Indianapolis.
Let’s examine the parties involved.
Hakeem Nicks, WR IND
If Nicks is healthy and his head is in it, he can be one of the most dominant receivers in the game. At just 26 years old, he still represents a ton of potential for the Colts and they have to hope the injuries he’s incurred haven’t totally zapped his explosiveness. In his first three years in the league, Nicks posted 24 touchdowns and two 1,000 yard seasons en route to being one of the most coveted receivers in all of dynasty leagues. In the last two years, he’s only recorded a total of 109 catches for 1,588 yards and three touchdowns en route to being one of the biggest disappointments in all of fantasy football. In fact, he didn’t even score last year, despite starting in 15 games. It really didn’t matter if his landing spot was in Indianapolis, Carolina, New England, Seattle or anywhere else – if he’s right, he’s a legitimate threat on offense. If he’s not, this is going to be a really short stay in Indy.
Expect the Colts to use Nicks on the outside, opposite Reggie Wayne and use a three receiver rotation with the likes of TY Hilton. There will be much speculation on who the “starters” will be on offense, but the Colts will likely go three wide quite often so it really won’t matter too much in the end. Again, if Nicks is truly healthy (he’s been cleared by multiple doctors), he’s going to get his targets in the offense as he’s simply too good not to.
This is a tough one.
There’s really no way to accurately speculate on just how impactful the presence of Nicks is on the offense until you see him play. If he’s the same Nicks we’ve seen over the past two seasons, this is going to be a disaster. If he’s not, Andrew Luck is going to be thrilled. Nicks has to be considered a “hold” in dynasty leagues as a WR2/3 with major upside and major risk.
Andrew Luck, QB IND
Again, it all depends on Nicks’ health. If he’s back to 100% and Reggie Wayne returns to form as well, it’s going to be tough to find a team with a better trio of receivers than the Colts have amassed. Regardless, Luck continues to be a highly coveted dynasty asset and will be a QB1 for the next decade, with or without Hakeem Nicks in tow. The sky’s the limit for this Stanford grad and it’s almost unfair he gets a cupboard this stocked this early in his career.
Reggie Wayne, WR IND
Much like Nicks, Wayne needs to show he’s healthy before we can accurately assess what impact the presence of Nicks would have. At first blush, you’d think the veteran receiver would be just fine, though he certainly can’t be counted on to be a WR1 any longer. He’ll be the top target on a good team, but there are only so many balls to go around.
TY Hilton, WR IND
Make no mistake, Hilton is still the receiver to own on this roster. He enjoyed a true breakout last season with 82 catches for 1,083 yards and five touchdowns. Young, fast and talented, this playmaker is going to be a staple in the Indianapolis offense for a long time. If an owner in your league thinks this signing puts a pin in the Hilton balloon, pounce on it before finishing this article.
Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener, TEs IND
The question here isn’t really if the arrival of Nicks carves into their value – it’s if the presence of each other does it. They haven’t played together enough to really determine just how much they can contribute. Allen still looks to be the better player, but we need to see more. Nicks could conceivably take some targets away, but one of these two will still likely emerge more. Our money is on Allen.
Da’Rick Rogers, Griff Whalen and LaVon Brazill, WRs IND
Rogers has long been a hot prospect based on his talent and late season burst. Believe it or not, I don’t believe this signing really changes things all that much. He was already a deep prospect and wasn’t realistically going to be a starter this year. Reggie Wayne is aging quickly and coming off an ACL tear. Nicks is far from a sure thing as well. If and when one of those two moves on, Rogers could be poised to be ready to move to a more prominent role. If he makes the team this year, he’ll remain what he is now – a deep roster stash.
As for Whalen and Brazill, this signing does much the same for them. Whalen actually showed pretty well last season and Brazill has always flashed talent. Let’s wait and see what the Colts do in the 2014 NFL Draft and the rest of free agency before making any determinations about their future. It’s still too early to do so.
Rueben Randle and Jerel Jernigan, WRs NYG
It’s time fellas. Let’s see what you’ve got.
Ken is on Twitter at DLF_KenK