Healthy Akiem Hicks Will Play A Lot Of Snaps

May 31st, 2022

New interior Bucs defensive lineman Akiem Hicks

By design last season, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh played 717 snaps through the 17-game Tampa Bay season to help preserve his 34-year-old body. It was the lowest snap total of Suh’s career by a significant margin.

Today, the Bucs made the move that confirmed they believed Suh was either was too old, too lacking in burst, too lacking in stamina or too nuts in his contract demand. Tampa Bay signed defensive lineman Akiem Hicks in free agency for up to $10 million in 2022.

Hicks is a banged up 32-year-old with monster talent to go along with his gargantual 6-4, 335-pound frame.

Obviously, the Bucs think Hicks has has a ton left in the tank and that he can rush the passer. You don’t sign run stuffers for that kind of bag.

What Joe likes about Hicks is that when he’s healthy, he stays on the field, more than Suh would have this season. With Vita Vea a part-timer, the Bucs really need an interior beast who can stay on the field, espcially if rookie Logan Hall has a steep learning curve during the Bucs’ brutal opening schedule.

Joe wouldn’t wager on Hicks staying healthy all season (a groin and an ankle wrecked him last year) but he is a whale of a talent and therefore a wild card for the defense.

If Hicks has enough juice and health to make plays that help lead the Bucs to a 3-1 or 4-0 start to the season, then Joe would almost consider his signing worth it for that reason alone.

Still, the injury history makes Joe take pause. In 2020, Hicks dealt with ankle and hamstring issues. In 2019, it was an elbow and a knee.

39 Responses to “Healthy Akiem Hicks Will Play A Lot Of Snaps”

  1. PassingThru Says:

    I sure hope he’s rotating heavily with Logan Hall. Hall needs the experience, Hicks needs to be conserved for postseason play.

  2. K2 Says:

    Just guessing it’s probably like a $4-$5 million plus a lot of incentives for games played, sacks, and post-season. Up to $10 million??? So, health is probably built in to the contract.

  3. gofortheface30 Says:

    Injuries or not Hicks is a better player and a MUCH better disrupter. Isnt the salary really about 2 million? With incentives that “potentially” make it up to 10. Lots and lots of guys have had bad injury luck for a year or 2 but return to form. Hicks was second team ALL PRO just a few yrs ago. Suh is very very far from being that guy at this point. Somehow i think he’ll find a way to “stay healthy” playing for a superbowl contender, lining up next to Vita Vea. Which by the way, lets maybe talk about how much of an insane combo that could be? Bucs needed some more size and toughness, and we got it.

  4. sasquatch Says:

    10 million includes bonuses that probably won’t be met. Guessing the base is significantly lower with playing time and statistical incentives, which is how it ought to be. At this stage he’s most likely an upgrade from Suh if he’s healthy. Him next to Vea and Gholston… that’s a lotta beef.

  5. Maniac Buc Says:

    Hicks can move around, so even as a backup, he can get plenty of snaps. He can also play the run and the pass. I can see him replacing Gholston on some obvious passing downs, and Hall on some rushing downs. Or even come in for Tryon on some downs pushing Hall outside. This is a great signing and allows a lot of versatility for Bowles on defense.

  6. tampabayallday Says:

    Go Bucs

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    The Suh/Hicks debate won’t be answered until after the season….and maybe not even then……so TBBF will give that a well-deserved rest.

  8. D-Rok Says:

    I believe the word is gargantuan. Let’s hope Hicks works out for the Bucs!

  9. Wild Bill Says:

    Very interesting signing. HICKS and VEA both in on short yardage running plays? Or both rotating fresh in the middle?

  10. Allbuccedup Says:

    Alternate Vea, Hicks, Hall and Gholston perfect situation.

  11. BringBucsBack Says:

    Hicks was a Manimal a few years ago. The injury history is a concern.

    Why was he a FA for so long?

  12. Stone crab sam Says:

    Watch suh end up with the pack or the knee capping aints😬
    Karmas a bitch.

  13. ModHairKen Says:

    A healthy Suh or a beat up Hicks? Well Licht knows better than me. But I really like what Suh has done here, and I am sad to see him go.

  14. JimmyJack Says:

    I like this move because, like Joe said, they paid him big money to ramp up our pass rush. It may or may not work but this is some much needed fresh blood up front. With Hall and Tryon we are now getting younger…….which is needed as we was the oldest line in all of football last year.

    I dont see the obsession with Suh and JPP. We brought back all the same players last year and it blew up in our face. That was not a Championship pass rush in that last game. Youre out of your mind if you think it was. We were in much need of revamping. Now lets see how it works.

  15. WVBucFan Says:

    I think Hicks stays healthy due to the Bucs having a top notch strength and conditioning staff, and because he will not see as many double teams. Hicks outside of Mack was the main focus on the Bears defense – noting having 600lbs on you every play will help his body out.

  16. GOB Says:

    Hicks had an ankle and covid last year. In 8 games, he had 5 sacks. No reason to believe his ankle will limit him. No, he isn’t the same force he once was, but properly managed, he’s a game changer. One of the worst decisions belichick ever made was letting him walk over money.

  17. eckwood Says:

    Great Signing !!

  18. Drebucsfan Says:

    Love this signing! Not too long ago he was considered maybe a top 5 disrupter on a very good bears defense

  19. Joe in Michigan Says:

    There are a lot of Bears fans here, with Chicago being about 100 miles away. The Bears fans I talked to said he was a team leader and good player, when healthy. I like the rotation the Bucs have up front.

  20. Mr. Editor Says:

    If by “ton left in the tank” you mean one year, then yes.

  21. Defense Rules Says:

    JimmyJack … ‘I dont see the obsession with Suh and JPP. We brought back all the same players last year and it blew up in our face.’

    Let’s see, last year we IMPROVED to 13-4, and Suh played in ALL 17 games. Bucs’ defense finished #5 in the NFL … an IMPROVEMENT over 2020, our SB year. We beat the Eagles soundly (31-15) in the 1st round of the playoffs, so up to that point I really can’t see anything ‘blowing up in our face’ JimmyJack. Matter of fact, I’d say we did considerably better.

    Our 19th game of the season against the Rams was a real bummer … but Suh played a beastly game: 0.5 sacks, 4 QB Hits, 6 tackles (3 of them solo), PLUS oh ya, 1 forced fumble on Cam Akers in the last 2 mins of the ballgame deep in Rams’ territory that allowed us to go on & tie the game. The next series that Rams got the ball Suh started off that series by sacking Stafford … a sack shared with JPP BTW. And I for one still remember that last play with LVD & others standing around while Stafford hit Kupp. Suh was within inches of sacking him again. Ya, old man Suh.

    What a shame the whole season blew up in our faces because of bringing back SB talents like Suh & JPP.

  22. SOEbuc Says:

    Awesome. Was #39 in NFL top 100 in 2019!

  23. Duane Says:

    There are likely many incentives on the deal, including a games played threshold. Not like the Bears gave this cat much incentive to play. Would be nice to have him every game, but the ones in January on are highest priority. 700 lbs of DT coming at opposing offensive fronts does sound intriguing. 54 and 45 better be ready for monster seasons.

  24. GOB Says:

    Defense, with all due respect. If you consider the Akers fumble forced, I’d hate to see your definition of an unforced turnover. The guy was two yards from the goal line, and had one had on the freaking ball !!! I’m sure you believe someone else besides Jared cook was responsible for the “forced fumble” that prevented another ass kicking from the saints during the superbowl run.

    The Rams simply laid the ball on the ground, a bunch of times. It was only because of those inexplicable fumbles that Suh was in a position to rack up those now meaningless numbers. I’ve poured over the game. Suh’s half sack, and two of his QB hits, came in the third quarter of what was then, a blowout. If Suh would’ve shown up earlier, I might agree with you.

  25. Listnfrmafar Says:

    He’s never healthy.

  26. GOB Says:

    Duane, exactly. It’s hard getting up for games, when you already know the outcome is likely a loss. Hicks now has plenty of incentive, both monetary and the ability to win.

  27. GOB Says:

    Listnfrmafar, was he never healthy? Or did he not go the extra mile for a loser organization that is the Chicago bears? I think it’s the latter. You folks will quickly forget Suh. Hicks will give you 10 sacks this year.

  28. JimmyJack Says:

    Defense Rules. Im not worried about rankings or none of that. For this team right now all that matters is we got a Championship Defense or not. Theres no way you can watch the Rams spank us up and down the field and think that was a Championship defense.

    2020 was a championship defense. You gotta look deeper then just at stats to claim we improved.

    The film dont lie. We needed a pass rush to hold back the Rams and it was non existent. We were pushed around up front and the fix cant be to just use the same guys a year older a year slower and a year more banged up. I do agree with you about Suh and think hes still got some left in the tank………..But at the end of the day our passrush just arent there against some of these elite teams. It sure looks to me like thats the biggest reason to tradeoff Suh for Hicks and add Hall. Now comes the easy part…..its just gotta work.

  29. Craig Says:

    If the rest of the D kine is solid, Hicks might make it through the whole season. He was the best thing on the Bears line and tried to hard.

    Suh and JPP were showing their age last season, they might be much worse this season. Hicks will give the same veteran experience as Suh and be more physical.

  30. Stanglassman Says:

    Hicks is a Great upgrade from Steve McClendon. #96 just got better.
    Hall replaced Suh. People need to stop thinking that Hicks is replacing Suh. That was done in the draft.

  31. FrankPillow Says:

    We owe Suh a debt of gratitude. The man single-handedly eradicated the fluffy marshmallow softness of our previous man in the middle (Geraldini) and brought grit, toughness and attitude to a once shameful unit that used to embrace guys like Swaggy too. All hail the Suh-per Bowl winning iron man of our times!

  32. Goatfarmer Says:

    I still wnt Suh.

  33. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Anyone claiming this guy is better than Suh is ignorant. Akiem Hicks hasn’t disrupted anything in 4 years, and he won’t start now.

    This s was about the money. Suh would be $10m guaranteed. Hicks will be lucky to see $5m.

    And if Bowles is smart, he’ll play him at a reduced play count to make him last a game or two longer.

    And I suspect Vea will be less of a part timer this season.

  34. adam from ny Says:

    suh just might be like a half of a season type back up plan…

    vita has had some injury issues and hicks as well…

    suh might just lay in the cut until the time is right…

    gronk too (another potential half season type guy)


  35. adam from ny Says:


  36. bucschamp Says:

    I wonder how much Suh wants?

  37. PassingThru Says:

    Got it, Bonzai. That would include a year Hicks was named All Pro.

  38. Crickett Baker Says:

    IDK. Bowles recently said that QBs are getting balls out so fast that sackings are down and they are practicing getting their hands up to tip the balls. I wonder if Hicks is good at that. It also irks me that so many of our draft picks and new signings have been injury prone–or at least have missed plenty of games being injured. Our conditioning staff MAY be top notch but they certainly didn’t keep our guys from being injured last year. I just don’t know.

  39. MJ Says:

    Hate to see Suh go he’s had a great career …hope they keep him but does not look likely. That strip inside two minutes against the Rams- not every body makes that play… Suh was awesome in that game