The Bucs have officially moved on from Ndamukong Suh. Tampa Bay replaced him in the starting lineup with the drafting of Logan Hall at the top of the second round. The Bucs replaced Suh’s veteran presence on the roster with the addition of veteran defensive tackle Akiem Hicks. The former Chicago Bear signed a one-year deal worth up to $10 million, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who broke the story.

It will be interesting to see what the contract breakdown is for the 6-foot-4, 335-pound Hicks, who has 40.5 career sacks. Suh made $9 million in each of the last two years in Tampa Bay.

Hicks, 32, began his career in New Orleans in 2012, notching 6.5 sacks in just over three years with the Saints. He recorded three sacks in 13 games with New England in 2015 before moving on to Chicago. Hicks had three straight years with at least seven sacks with the Bears, including his lone Pro Bowl season in 2018. That year he had 55 tackles and 7.5 sacks and three forced fumbles.

Hicks has battled injuries over the last three seasons, playing in just 29 games since 2019. He played in five games in 2019, 15 in 2020 and only nine last year. Hicks has recorded 3.5 sacks in each of the last two years.

With the Bucs not re-signing Suh or 36-year old veteran Steve McLendon, the team gets a bit younger at defensive tackle. Hicks also adds much needed experience, plus the versatility to play up and down the defensive line. He’s had experience playing in 3-4 schemes before in New England and also in Chicago.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 27th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive coordinator/defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
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76bucsfan46
76bucsfan46
1 month ago

Very nice rotational player at this stage of his career.

bveghte
bveghte
1 month ago

I’m confused about why 3.5 sacks is better than 6 sacks. Suh had 6 sacks last year and showed up biggest in the biggest game (against LA), when the rest of the defense crapped the bed. Suh is declining, sure, but so is Hicks. $10 million seems a lot for a guy who can provide 3.5 sacks. Maybe they think their scheme will somehow increase his production?

toofamiliar17
toofamiliar17
Reply to  bveghte
1 month ago

You kinda stumbled on the answer without realizing it – sacks aren’t always the best way to measure a DL. Hicks had higher sack and pressure RATES, meaning he produced as a pass rusher much more efficiently than Suh did. Historically, pressure rate does a much better job of predicting future pass rushing effectiveness than sacks do, which is a long way of saying that . Hicks was also much better as a run defender last year. Suh is also 3 years older, and he has appreciably declined each of the last two seasons, whereas Hicks has persisted in playing… Read more »

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  toofamiliar17
1 month ago

Just do the math – the difference between 6 sacks a season and 3.5 sacks a season is 2.5 sacks. If a player played all 16 games (Hicks didn’t – one reason his sack total was lower) and averaged 45 defensive snaps a game, that’s a total of 765 snaps a season. 2.5 sacks out of 765 snaps is a difference of 0.33% in the sack rate. Those are very small numbers. On the other hand, stopping runs, TFLs, and quarterback pressures (hits and hurries) should normally be many times the number of sacks for any quality DT. Plus, there… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Naplesfan
Eddie
Eddie
1 month ago

Hopefully, he has recovered sufficiently from the multiple injuries suffered last season. Otherwise, a very expensive half a season rental.

Buc-Up
Buc-Up
1 month ago

I’d rather have Such back for that or less. Suh is an ironman and doesn’t miss games!

Kimba
Kimba
Reply to  Buc-Up
1 month ago

agree ability starts with availability

toofamiliar17
toofamiliar17
Reply to  Kimba
1 month ago

Actually, ability starts with ability. If you’re always on the field but not good, then you’re not helping the team. For being on the field to be worth much, you have to DO good things when you’re on the field. Yes, you also have to be available, but being out there doesn’t do the team any good if you suck.

fredster
fredster
1 month ago

This is odd for sure. I mean if it was for less than what Suh wanted would make sense. Oh well hope Hicks has something left and is and can stay healthy. I’m just glad they signed another DT. I think if they would went forward with what they had (like some here said would be fine lol) they would be crazy. Now I’d be shocked if they don’t grab another veteran pass rusher. Putting all eggs in the unknown JTS basket doesn’t make sense to me.

Last edited 1 month ago by fredster
toofamiliar17
toofamiliar17
Reply to  fredster
1 month ago

I think the “up to” part of this deal is important. My best guess is that it’s $6M base with $4M in playtime, production, and team success incentives. What of those incentives counts against the cap depends on whether or not the league deems them “likely to be earned”. So, we’ll see. But there are incentives built into that $10M number, so don’t gawk at it too much until we know how much and how those incentives are determined. There’s a good chance, I think, that his cap hit will be considerably lower than what Suh’s were the last two… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by toofamiliar17
TBChucky
TBChucky
1 month ago

Nice addition. Need that veteran presence. Adds versatility and a good rotational piece.

CrackerBall
CrackerBall
1 month ago

I am a Suh fan… but this is a good signing. When he is healthy, Hicks is a tremendous player that fits into our rotation well. Guess Suh’s desired salary was just too great.

Last edited 1 month ago by CrackerBall
Eddie
Eddie
Reply to  CrackerBall
1 month ago

Good point, we don’t know what Suh is asking for to play this season.

jiggyjoe
jiggyjoe
1 month ago

Why would you prefer Hicks over Suh. I am sure we are missing part of this story. Suh is a very good player and a no bull$hit person. You pay his price and you get what you paid for. This is rare in the NFL. You got me!

Last edited 1 month ago by jiggyjoe
toofamiliar17
toofamiliar17
Reply to  jiggyjoe
1 month ago

Because Hicks has generated pressures and sacks at higher rates than Suh over the last two years, as well as being a far superior run defender. Health is the big question with Hicks for sure though. If he misses, say, 4 or fewer games, and he’s healthy for our playoff run, then this signing is a clear win for us. If he misses half the year and is either out or limited in the playoffs, it’ll be tough to feel great about this deal in hindsight. In either case, though, moving on from Suh made nothing but sense IMO. Unless… Read more »

NaplesFan2.0
NaplesFan2.0
1 month ago

The comments on here are wild lol. Akiem Hicks has had a better pff grade than Suh in each of the last few seasons. At this stage of his career, he’s a better player, and a great leader. He has had a few injury concerns, but the contract is obviously incentive laden, and he’s also 3 years younger than Suh. This is a good move by Licht. All the boo birds were out when we swapped out McCoy for Suh, and it seems the same on this one. I trust our team evaluating players.

fredster
fredster
Reply to  NaplesFan2.0
1 month ago

Your an idiot. Mccoy sucked and most were happy to see him go. I know I was and voiced it here. You say Hicks has had “a few injuries?” He hasn’t played a full season since 2018. In 2019 he had 1.5 sacks, 2020 3.5, and 2021, 3.5. What exactly is PFF rating higher than Suh? Durability? Sacks? Run defense? To you Every move Bucs make is perfect and anyone questioning is crazy. Ok, Got it jackass.

NaplesFan2.0
NaplesFan2.0
Reply to  fredster
1 month ago

First of all look at my name you numbnuts lol. 2.0 is not your regular Naples Fan. As broken down in film, Suh misses assignments, has lost athleticism and got clean up sacks mostly. There is a reason they’re not paying him. Missing 1 game in 2020 is missing a bunch of games? The only very injury filled season was last year, so try again lmao. Me personally, I critique all of the moves and don’t just blindly accept that its a good move. This is one though. Get Suh tfoh!!

toofamiliar17
toofamiliar17
Reply to  fredster
1 month ago

I’d normally agree with you on Naples. If the team had instead resigned Suh and passed on Hicks, he’d be taking an exactly opposite approach, bashing Hicks, propping up Suh, and calling everyone who would’ve preferred Calais Campbell or Hicks to Suh idiots. It is annoying, I agree. I swear Naples is Jason Licht’s girl on the side or something, and she just gets way too defensive of him to try to prove her love to him or something. In this one, though, I do think he’s mostly right. Hicks doesn’t have to play every game to be better than… Read more »

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  toofamiliar17
1 month ago

My my aren’t you the self absorbed snarky old critic of people who, likely unlike you, are successful in life and in their career. I’m speaking of the Bucs leadership .. you know, the guy who got us a Super Bowl championship and a Division Championship in the last two seasons, managed to snag the GOAT and then keep him here.

You and the Fredster must be asshole buddies, apparently.

CrackerBall
CrackerBall
Reply to  Naplesfan
1 month ago

Dang everybody… “Why so Serious?” – The Joker

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  fredster
1 month ago

You’re the angry old asshole who tries to ruin every thread you participate in with your negative nancy schtick and ugly rants, and your supreme belief in your personal superiority over the Bucs leadership. Really, just GTF outta here and go harass old ladies or puppies or toddlers or someone else appropriate to your lack of human skills.

Last edited 1 month ago by Naplesfan
cobraboy
cobraboy
1 month ago

I suspect the Bucs had no intention of bringing Suh and McClendon back. It looks to be true they wanted to get younger on the DL.
Makes sense.
But can Hicks stay healthy? Tome for TB12 to sell his program to Hicks.

parnelldickinson
parnelldickinson
1 month ago

Im so glad we signed a proven veteran ,,hopefully he is healthy. His career seems to have blossomed late. He is big and has pass rush ability also. Will help the guys on the outside JTS/Nelson be more productive. Like I said felt it was very important to sign suh or someone similar. I’d be also interested in a veteran edge on a real cheap deal..J houston, tre flowers. And of corse gronk!

stlbucsfan
stlbucsfan
1 month ago

Another brilliant move by Licht this offseason.I think last offseason we got so caught up in bringing our own guys back that we didnt do as good a job at improving the roster. Some may not see this signing in that light but its an upgrade for the same price of Suh. We cant get so caught up with the guys from the last SB team that we dont take the upgrades as they become available. Julio Jones next and the Licht can wait til camp to poach another good player or 2 as cuts begin.

Horse
Horse
1 month ago

Sounds good to me. Go Bucs!

drdneast
drdneast
1 month ago

Up to….Must be an incentive laden contract which is a good thing.

scubog
scubog
Reply to  drdneast
1 month ago

At least you and a few others picked up on the “up to” key phrase in the article. I’m sure when the details of the actual contract, and not “agent-speak”, are revealed, it will show that the real number will be closer half of what Suh was likely demanding. Many focus on sacks as the only measure of performance.In my opinion, as much as I like Suh, his play was clearly in decline, in spite of the sack total. In his younger days, he would have been a tick faster and put Stafford on his ass on that pass to… Read more »

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  drdneast
1 month ago

Unlike the idiots Fredster and toofamiliar, who are both legends in their own tiny little minds, Jason Licht actually does know what he’s doing, as he has proven for years now. According to those two lightweights, the Bucs would do far better if they were our two headed GM, Frick and Frack.

Pretty sure if we took a vote of Bucs players, they would not be entrusted to change out the toilet paper rolls in the locker room.

Rob
Rob
1 month ago

Yes sir! Big fan of this signing! Been saying all along-this feels like an “all in” move for sure. The Suh vs Hicks one will be an interesting debate but clearly the coaches/GM saw something there so in them I’ll trust. Get Gronk back in the fold, perhaps Justin Houston on cheap 1 year deal to help us get to the QB and I’m liking our chances all things considered. Not a proponent of the Julio signing unless he legit wants a ring and comes here on the Vet minimum (which probably won’t even affect our cap since its only… Read more »

twspin
twspin
1 month ago

WOW..If they signed this guy for 10 mil one yr, then Suh must have been asking for a boat load of cash. Hicks is strong and can ball..when he is healthy. Lets pray he can stay healthy for an entire season or close.

Dman
Dman
1 month ago

Glad we’ve signed a vet DT.

Alldaway 2.0
Alldaway 2.0
1 month ago

Very good signing IMO!
Suh will be missed in run defense though but Hicks when healthy is a beast. Suh has shown he could stay healthy and you have to wonder though.