Over the last 12 hours, rumors have circulated of a potential trade that would send Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks to the Lions for running back Mikel Leshoure and a third-round pick.
Those rumors, we’re told, are unfounded.
On the surface, it would make sense for the Lions to move Leshoure, a second-round pick in 2011 who hasn’t done much in two-plus seasons. With Reggie Bush and Joique Bell playing well, Leshoure has become the odd man out.
The Lions also need help at receiver after Nate Burleson broke his arm in a car accident.
But with everyone in New York on notice after the Giants failed to make it to the playoffs three times in four years, it makes no sense to trade Nicks. Even if they’ve decided to let him walk away via free agency, they need him if they’re going to turn around an 0-3 start. Otherwise, plenty of people could get fired.
Also, the Giants would potentially receive a third-round compensatory pick in 2015 if Nicks signs elsewhere. Getting Leshoure and a third-rounder in 2015 feels like a bad deal in comparison to what the Giants could get from the league office if Nicks leaves.
For the Lions, Nicks would be a one-season rental at best, given the money and cap space already devoted to Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford. Though the Lions have wasted plenty of picks in recent years on players who didn’t pan out, giving up a third-round pick for 13 games with Nicks is a lot to sacrifice.
Then again, if G.M. Martin Mayhew and coach Jim Schwartz fear they won’t be around to use that pick next May, they could be tempted to lose it now.
Either way, the rumors are unfounded. It doesn’t mean either or both players won’t be traded between the Lions and Giants or other teams. It means that Nicks isn’t on the verge of becoming a Lion in exchange for Leshoure.