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Should The Lions Bring Hakeem Nicks to Detroit?

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Detroit Lions receiver Nate Burleson, 11-year veteran and locker room leader, will miss a significant portion of time this season after breaking two bones in his forearm.

He was driving home on Westbound I-696 in Farmington Hills, Michigan, from a team hangout Tuesday morning when, distracted by a box of pizza from off the passenger seat, he crashed his GMC Yukon (NYSE: GM) into the median.

"It's not a season-ending injury for the team. Nate always has been inconsistent," Bear Heiser, Digital Content Producer with NFL.com, said via email.

The concerns for the frequent attendees inside and out of Ford (NYSE: F) Field, however, is what to do what now? Despite his inconsistency and health over the years, Burleson was Detroit's leading receiver (19 receptions, 239 yards) through their first three games.

He is a fairly dependable slot player when healthy, a decent fallback option when Matthew Stafford cannot hook up with All-Pro Calvin Johnson (17 receptions, 268 yards, three touchdowns). One of the many early rumors flying around the Detroit-area is New York Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks.

Detroit Free Press beat writer Dave Birkett tweeted this last night regarding the replacement talk.

"Even with Nate, the team has no No. 2 wide receiver good enough to warrant double teams away from CJ (Calvin Johnson)," Heiser said. Of Nicks' 264 career receptions, nearly 70 percent have resulted in a first down.

Nicks became Giants quarterback Eli Manning's favorite target when he joined the league in 2009. He has averaged a little over 63 receptions per season since then, but has stated his displeasure with his targets this year as Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO) Sports discusses. With free agency coming up in 2014, a lot of money could be tied up with him.

"I think Nicks & CJ are very similar receivers, so it depends on the price," Heiser said. "There is no guarantee he will re-sign once the season is over."

Nicks' New York counterpart, Victor Cruz, received a five-year, $43 million contract this past off season. With similar production and a little bit bigger build, Nicks should command very similar money.

The Giants additionally would assuredly want a high-round draft pick and another player in the exchange. Former first-round pick Mikel Leshoure, who has spent most of 2013 on the Detroit's bench, could be that guy.

Many radio hosts and callers on The Ticket, the popular CBS (NYSE: CBS)-affiliated 97.1 radio network, think Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns is the better target. Heiser agrees, saying "because of his troubled history, any long term contract would be for less money, meaning less risk."

"SOL" is the popular buzz term catching on in recent years. Coaching great and analyst Tony Dungy even brought it up on NBC's (NASDAQ: CMCSA) Football Night In America earlier this season. It is a moniker born out of mocking, but can lend itself to poor luck too many times. Same Old Lions.

Posted-In: Bear Heiser Detroit Free Press Detroit Lions Hakeem Nicks Nate Burleson New York GiantsTopics General Best of Benzinga

 

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