TAMPA- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made a big signing in free agency at the defensive tackle position, but it’s not quite the name most would be expecting.
Tampa Bay announced last week that they have signed former Chicago Bears defensive tackle Akiem Hicks to a 1-year, $10-million deal. The Buccaneers solidified its front seven after having drafted Logan Hall in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Hicks’ signing likely means Tampa Bay will not be bringing back Ndamukong Suh, who has played with the Buccaneers the last three seasons in 49 appearances. Suh signed with the Buccaneers after the 2018 campaign and became a key cog in the middle alongside Vita Vea and Jason Pierre-Paul, who also has not been retained by Tampa Bay.
Hicks, who was a Pro Bowler in 2018 with the Bears, spent the last six seasons in Chicago and was a stalwart on the defensive line. During that time, he made 77 starts for the Bears and from 2016 to 2018 notched 23 sacks. The former Bear fills a void needed by Tampa Bay, as they seemingly part ways with Suh, who remains a free agent.
The injury bug has been the biggest issue for Hicks during his time in the NFL, as the defensive tackle hasn’t played an entire season since 2018. In the last two seasons, Hicks has missed a total of nine games. Through nine games played last season, Hicks was able to make 25 tackles and 3.5 sacks for Chicago. In Tampa Bay, Hicks joins Vea, Hall, Shaq Barrett, Devin White, and LaVonte David on a loaded front seven group for Todd Bowles.