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Justin Tuck and Hakeem Nicks, pillars on the New York Giants 2011 Super Bowl winning team, will both be allowed to potentially walk away as free agents as early as next month.
GM Jerry Reese admits management has now decided to take a wait-and-see approach as it relates to what ultimately becomes of both players and will idly sit by as both gauge their value on the open market.
Tuck has spent all nine of his NFL seasons with the Giants and led the team in sacks last season with 11. But the veteran DE turns 31 next month and the team apparently has concerns about how much longer he can perform at the level he long has.
“Justin is going to go to the market and see what’s out there for him,” Reese told reporters while attending the NFL combines this week. “Free agency means free agency. It means you go out and get as much as you can. I’m all for players getting as much as they can. Justin deserves to see what the market is. We’d love to have him back. We’ll see where it goes.”
Going might be the operative word in the case of Nicks. The six-year pro is coming off his second straight less than 60-catch season and the growing sentiment is the new Roc Nation client may be looking for a fresh start. Nicks finished with 56 catches for 896 yards and no touchdowns in 2013, a far cry from his 2010 career season of 79 catches and 11 touchdowns.
Management now seems of the mind that third-year wideout Rueben Randle is poised for a breakout season and could be ready to replace Nicks as a No. 1 option after snaring 41 catches and a team-leading six touchdown receptions last season. Jerrel Jernigan, a 2011 third-round pick from Troy who had 29 catches last year, is also expected to get an extended look.
Tuck went on record last month asserting he would love to retire as a Giant, but in the wake of last year’s 7-9 nightmare of a season there are certainly no guarantees.
“You never know,” said Reese. “We keep all of our options open. Both of those guys, they deserve to see what the market is.”
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