Former Bears DL Akiem Hicks signing with Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a new weapon on their defensive front.
Tampa Bay remains in win-now mode and needed pass-rushing reinforcements after not re-signing Ndamukong Suh and Jason Pierre-Paul this offseason. Just a few years ago, Hicks was one of the best linemen in the NFL.
He earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2018 and tallied 23 sacks and 38 tackles for loss during his first three years in Chicago. But the 32-year-old has missed 20 games over the past three seasons because of an assortment of injuries. Hicks did manage to play 15 games in 2020 and recorded a career-high 21 QB hits. Last year, he shifted to defensive tackle and recorded 3.5 sacks in nine games.
With star DT Vita Vea manning the middle for Tampa Bay, Hicks figures to move back to his original spot outside. He’ll be joined by veteran William Gholston, second-year outside linebacker Joe Tryon-Shoyinka and 2022 second-round pick Logan Hall. The potential there, as it is for the team, is really high.
Todd Bowles, now the Bucs’ head coach after serving as their defensive coordinator the previous three seasons, is one of the best in the business in terms of creating pressure. His unit ranked ninth in sacks last season. That could improve with a healthy and rejuvenated Hicks on board.