Buccaneers need to be wary of major signing due to recent trend
By Rob Leeds
The Buccaneers signing Akiem Hicks is some of the biggest NFL free agent news in weeks. Tampa just needs to hope that Hicks can stay on the field.
The Buccaneers were thankfully able to break up a rather slow period on the news front by giving Akiem Hicks a nice deal to bring him in as a replacement for Ndamukong Suh.
While the official numbers on the contract have not been revealed yet, we can rest assured that Tampa’s front office worked magic yet again to make the actual hit lower than it seems, but there is an opportunity here for Hicks to make as much as $10 million.
That’s a great deal, especially when considering where the Bucs sit with their cap space (just over $10 million), and, more importantly, Hicks’ recent injury concerns.
At first glance, this is an excellent signing by the Buccaneers. Bringing in another tank to pair with Vita Vea to shut down the run is going to rightfully excite a lot of people. Hicks will ensure that Tampa keeps the best defensive line in the NFL, and the odds are decent that this new deal doesn’t even eat up half of that remaining cap space.
The only question right now is whether or not Hicks can actually stay on the field to make the most of this new deal.
Hicks has experienced a great career in Chicago overall, but the past three years have been somewhat concerning. Missing twenty games during that span is hard to shake off. That is starting to become a pattern of inconsistency that a team like the Bucs tends to avoid.
We all saw how chronic injuries hurt the team last year.
The good news for all parties is that the Buccaneers have shown that their rotation is deep on the defensive front, and getting bodies in for quick spurts is going to reduce the overall wear and tear on Hicks’ body.
The likely reduced focus on Hicks in Tampa relative to what he experienced in Chicago is going to make life much easier and hopefully reduce the total number of injuries and their severity.
The Bucs assuredly did their research before this point to make an informed decision as to whether or not this was the right move, so there isn’t much to worry about there, but these are not numbers to brush off either in the excitement of the deal.
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