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NFL: Teams pursuing Hakeem Nicks. Panthers should work a trade

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Dec 9, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (88) hangs onto a pass as he is defended by New Orleans Saints cornerback Patrick Robinson (21) at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

Nicks is in line to command more than the $12 million a year Mike Wallace got from the Miami Dolphins in free agency last year, and that’s too much for the Giants to pay, but the Panthers could easily pay that. Outside of Steve Smith, who will be retired by the time Nicks’ next contract runs out, the Panthers have no receivers Cam Newton can count on, and it’s time to pair him with a receiver that he’ll have for most of the prime years of his career.

The big arm of Newton hasn’t been put to good use throwing to the likes of Brandon LaFell and Tedd Ginn Jr., but Nicks and his 17.7 yards-per-catch would be a welcome addition to a Panthers offense that is struggling to keep pace with their league-leading defense in terms of total yardage allowed.

Their offense ranks 29th in the league, despite having the league’s 7th-best rushing attack. The passing offense is holding this team back from being a playoff team, and adding Nicks could be the missing piece to Carolina breaking through into the postseason.

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