One of the NFL's best available players is going off the market. Former Bears Pro Bowl defensive lineman Akiem Hicks has agreed to a one-year deal with the Buccaneers that is worth up to $10 million, as confirmed by CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones.
Hicks, a 2018 Pro Bowler who is entering his 11th season, is joining a talented Buccaneers defensive line that also includes veterans Vita Vea and William Gholston along with rookie second-round pick Logan Hall. Last year, the Buccaneers' defensive front played an integral role in the unit finishing third in the NFL in yards allowed.
The 89th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Hicks broke into the NFL with the Saints, where he made 33 starts in 48 games. Following a brief stay in New England, Hicks singed with the Bears in 2016. Over the next season, Hicks blossomed into one of the league's best defensive linemen. He logged 79 starts in Chicago that included 31 sacks, 397 tackles, 74 tackles for loss, five forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries. In nine games last season, Hicks tallied 3.5 sacks (matching his 15-game total in 2020) that included two sacks of Kirk Cousins in Week 15.
Hicks' signing likely means the end of Ndamukong Suh's time in Tampa. A five-time Pro Bowler, Suh spent this last three seasons with the Buccaneers, where he tallied 14.5 sacks while helping Tampa Bay win the Super Bowl at the end of the 2020 season. Suh remains available in free agency.