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Tampa Bay Buccaneers hit another home run with signing of Akiem Hicks

Vincent Frank

Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht always finds a way to do it. Adding veterans to a core group with Super Bowl aspirations.

Tuesday’s news that Tampa had signed Pro Bowl defensive lineman Akiem Hicks adds yet another layer to this narrative.

One of the better pass-rushing 3-4 ends in the game, Hicks gives the Bucs’ defense an added dimension heading into the 2022 NFL season. He also fills one of the only remaining holes on a roster that’s as loaded as any in the NFL.

Related: Tampa Bay Buccaneers standing in our NFL defensive rankings

Akiem Hicks as a perfect fit for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

tampa bay buccaneers sign akiem hicks
Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

At 32 years old, the California native has seen injuries impact him over the past few seasons. Back in 2019, he missed 11 games with an elbow injury. This past season also saw the former Pro Bowler miss eight games with an ankle injury. But when he’s been on the field, we’re talking about an elite-level pass rusher.

These types of numbers are usually reserved for edge guys in 4-3 defenses or outside linebackers in 3-4 schemes. His ability to get to the quarterback on a consisent basis has been Hicks’ calling card since he entered the NFL as a third-round pick of the New Orleans Saints back in 2012.

Hicks will now help Vita Vea anchor the front seven in Tampa Bay that already includes stud edge guys such as Shaquil Barrett and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka on the second level. His presence will open things up for those two much moe than what we saw from Ndamukong Suh last season for the Buccaneers.

Related: 2022 Tampa Bay Buccaneers schedule and game-by-game predictions

Akiem Hicks contract gives Tampa Bay Buccaneers value

Hicks’ contract is said to be worth up to $10 million for one season. The operative terms here are “up to.” There’s certainly going to be bonuses based on his performance. And if he lives up to those bonuses, that $10 million figure would be more than worth it for Tampa Bay.

The interesting thing to look at here will be Hicks’ base salary in that any bonuses achieved would be attached to the 2023 NFL salary cap. It’s expected to increase big time due to TV revenue, which means the Bucs paying out a few million wouldn’t be seen as such a big deal.

Tom Brady contract helps Tampa Bay Buccaneers big time

This coming season will see Brady boast the 17th-highest cap hit among NFL quarterbacks, sandwiched in between Matthew Stafford and Kyler Murray. He’s actually set to count less against the cap than the likes of Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield.

Should Tom Brady have stayed retired?

Having earned a cool $302 million throughout his career, Brady isn’t in it for the money right now. He wants to win that eighth Super Bowl title. Taking less to help that come to fruition is a big deal.

This enabled Tampa Bay to re-sign the likes of Leonard Fournette, William Gholston and Giovani Bernard. It also helped the Buccaneers sign star wide receiver Chris Godwin to a three-year, $60 million extension while adding the likes of Akiem Hicks, Russell Gage, Logan Ryan, Shaq Mason and Keanu Neal during the offseason.

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