Up until this point in the preparations chapter of the 2013 NFL season, it was quite clear the New York Giants have a problem with Victor Cruz, who is still negotiating a long-term contract with the team, not really advancing anywhere. The bigger surprise in the most recent turn of events is Hakeem Nicks also becoming somewhat of an issue, not showing up to the first OTA sessions, and not because he was injured.

So why? Well, Nicks is heading into the final season of his contract. All the signs from the Giants suggest that they see Nicks as their number one wide receiver, and intend to pay him that way, as long as he shows he’s healthy. He missed a few games last season, and that might have gotten the Giants a little bit worried about his long-term suitability, probably pushing back their deadline to begin negotiations with him.

Tom Coughlin

He waited and waited, but Nicks never showed up…

I don’t know why he’s not here. He should be here. I expect everybody here. Trying to get our team better here. He would have some kind of limitations I am sure right away, but that is not the reason for his absence.

Nicks played quite a few games with his knee and foot bothering him, something that dropped his production to only 692 yards on 53 catches after two consecutive 1000 yards seasons. It has been known that his intention was not to get on the playing field without being 100% sure he’s 100% healthy. According to everyone with a little bit of insight on his injuries in 2012, they are not the reason he didn’t show up, which makes everyone point fingers to the contract issue.

Nicks, who has been with the Giants since 2009, is due to make $2.7 million in 2013 before his deal expires. He’s looking to get a deal superior to what Cruz will be getting, and probably will, but it’s not quite clear what his demands will be. Cruz is looking to get signed for around $10 million a season for the next four years, but the Giants aren’t going above $8 million per annum at the moment, and are unlikely to budge further.

Cruz is on a RFA tender, which pays him $2.8 million, but if he doesn’t sign a new contract, the Giants have the right to wave that tender and pay him only $600,000 next season, which will turn things very ugly between the two sides. They’re hoping that they don’t find themselves with their top two wide receivers in some sort of strike mode by the time the season begins.