Dec 8, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; New York Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks (88) stretches prior to the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Could The Pittsburgh Steelers Target Free Agent Wide Receiver Hakeem Nicks?

As I noted in a column yesterday, the Pittsburgh Steelers have some major decisions to make at the wide receiver position this offseason.

It’s entirely possible that the Steelers could lose two of their top three receivers from the 2013 season in Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery.

Oct 6, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (88) turns upfield after reception during the second half against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Philadelphia Eagles defeat the New York Giants 36-21. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

One scenario is that the Steelers can likely keep only one, and if that’s the case, Cotchery could be back in a Steelers uniform as a third or fourth option in 2014. Unfortunately I really don’t envision any scenario in which they keep Sanders around.

If that’s the case a replacement will need to be found.

In yesterday’s column I touched on a few guys who the Steelers could look at in the early rounds, including Texas A&M’s Mike Evans, who has already been linked to the Steelers.

However, they also may have to go out and find a guy in free agency. While that’s not typically the Steelers’ style, general manager Kevin Colbert may have no other choice.

Unfortunately for him, this year’s wide receiver class is really weak.

A guy like Denver’s Eric Decker would be nice, but would be out of the Steelers’ price range. Anquan Boldin, Golden Tate and Brandon LaFell also could be decent options, but they could cost a good bit of change as well.

That brings me to Hakeem Nicks.

Nicks won’t be cheap either, but the Steelers should be moving a good bit of money around to the point that they may be able to go get a guy that can help immediately.

The good news is that Nicks is coming off a couple of down years, so he won’t be breaking the bank like Mike Wallace did last offseason.

Nicks finished with 56 catches for 896 yards and no touchdowns. He is an unrestricted free agent and not expected to be back with the Giants.

If put in the right situation – possibly a Steelers offense that was clicking at the end of the season – Nicks could get back into the 70-catch, 1,100-yard range he produced in 2010 and 2011.

Because of his two down years filled with injuries, Nicks should be affordable to a team like the Steelers, even on a short-term deal. He’s fooling himself if he thinks he is going to get big money.

A guy like Nicks is certainly a little bit risky, but given his production in the past, a change of scenery may be just what he needs. He certainly would look good in the Steelers offense across from Antonio Brown.

This is all just purely speculation on my part, but if Nicks can be had on a team-friendly contract, he is a guy who is definitely worth the gamble.

A move needs to be made and is likely going to happen anyway. We will find out in the upcoming months if the Steelers end up having any interest in Nicks, who could certainly help the team in 2014.

Tags: Hakeem Nicks Pittsburgh Steelers

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