Hakeem Nicks' offseason has been full of question marks after he stayed away from the New York Giants' facility while hoping for a new contract. He then missed training-camp practice Sunday with tightness in his groin, further fueling the concerned questions.
However, at least one man close to the situation has no doubts about the wide receiver's importance to the Giants.
"I think the No. 1 wideout is Hakeem Nicks," Victor Cruz said on NFL Network's "NFL AM" on Monday. "I mean, he's been here longer, he understands this offense. He's our big-play guy, he's on the outside. So I definitely think he's our No. 1 receiver, there's no doubt about it."
While there might not be any doubt in Cruz's mind, Nicks will have to be healthy the entire season to be paid like one.
While Cruz campaigned for his teammate's contract, he said his own contract -- and those for slot receivers around the NFL -- demonstrates that receivers should get paid regardless of where they line up.
"I do think we've been undervalued; I think it definitely signifies a change in the game," Cruz said. " ... I think the numbers are the numbers, and they have to be scaled according to the tops in the league, no matter where you line up on the field."
Follow Kevin Patra on Twitter @kpatra.