Still Gas In The Tank Of Akiem Hicks?

April 16th, 2023

Akiem Hicks analysis.

Joe doesn’t know how to handicap the chances that the Bucs bring back defensive tackle Akiem Hicks.

At the NFL Annual Meeting three weeks ago (nee: NFL owners meetings), Bucs coach Todd Bowles said Hicks is very much in the picture of returning to the Bucs (so is Will Gholston). Of course, Hicks is not signed and it is mid-April.

Brandon Thorn, proprietor of “Trench Warfare,” is one of the very few NFL analysts out there that specifically focuses on offensive line play. And naturally, if one studies offensive line play, he will notice defensive line play by osmosis, too.

In studying Stinking Panthers offensive line tape, Thorn couldn’t help but recall Hicks’ dominance.

The biggest problem with Hicks is keeping the guy on the field. He is brittle. Defensive tackle is not an ideal place to hide a brittle player. Can his skills make up for the missed games? He missed six games last year.

With Vita Vea and Hicks both starting, the Bucs (an 8-10 team) had a winning record. And Joe doesn’t think it’s hyperbole to suggest Bowles needs wins this fall.

So yeah, Hicks returning wouldn’t shock Joe.

60 Responses to “Still Gas In The Tank Of Akiem Hicks?”

  1. Goatfarmer Says:

    No Hicks.


  2. Geno711 Says:

    Lots of ways to win in the NFL. Last year the Eagles rotated lots of guys in at defensive line. That seemed to work for them.

    Not a fan of Hicks at 8 million. I would be at 4 million plus incentives.

  3. sasquatch Says:

    I’m pretty sure this is where Bowles and Licht diverge. And Licht is going to win. We’re going to draft a DLineman or two, and we’re only going to sign someone like Hicks or Gholston if they’re willing to play for the vet minimum. Ghloston’s availability and history with the franchise makes him the more likely choice. I really don’t see them adding an aging veteran though. Makes no sense at this stage.

    And to those who say “SUH”, I say check his stats over the 8 games in Philly. Not exactly worth more than a vet minimum salary… but if he wants to come in as a D-line assistant and part time player, I’d welcome him.

  4. Josh Rice Says:

    I will never understand why we swapped Suh for Hicks At least he isn’t injury prone.

  5. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Geno

    I agree. If Hicks wants to play cheap and can just be a rotational player I am OK with it.

    I would keep his play count under 30 plays per game or he won’t be around very long…

  6. Goatfarmer Says:

    Sas – that’s the way for Suh, agree. I just like his name. Simple. Three letters. Concise. There is elegance and intellect with incisive brevity.

  7. MadMax Says:

    gave up on him already….but if cheap as a backup, eh

  8. sasquatch Says:

    I’m against the Hicks idea in principle. I’d much rather use a roster spot on a young developmental player with upside and who won’t be hurt all the time, and who’s cheaper, than pay a premium for a few good snaps from Hicks.

  9. Winny Testaverde Says:

    The thought/alibi outta One Buc Place was “Hicks is a younger, quicker replacement” for Suh. It basically backfired as Suh is a brick shat house and Hicks is a top heavy fella who locks like he avoids the weight room. Almost immediately his foot gave way. Matters not at this point I suppose.

  10. Allbuccedup Says:

    The Bucs need to get younger and faster trade Devin White for Ed Oliver of the Bills and draft another linebacker.

  11. SB~LV Says:

    After the draft slot
    He’ll be playing somewhere in 2023
    Depends on how the draft shakes out whether it’s here

  12. Redeemer Says:

    Gas left? probably. But the tires are shot . Hard pass on hicks. I was super excited when they signed him, only to be tremendously disappointed. In his prime, he was a top 5 defensive tackle. The guy just can’t stay healthy anymore. If he’d of stayed in New England, Brady probably has one more ring .

  13. TampaBayBucsFanSince1976 Says:


  14. Mike Johnson Says:

    Would luv to have SUH back. But remember guys, Suh is not one to play at a discount. He wants to get paid. So its probably gonna be Hicks again. Actually Hicks is not that bad if..He can stay healthy.

  15. sasquatch Says:

    Suh didn’t do much last year to warrant you guys clamoring for him. I think he had like 8 tackles and 1 sack. He’s got not much left to justify paying and using up a roster spot.

  16. Browsing from DC Says:

    A Hicks and Suh rotation of about 10M total would be nice, especially if Vea continues as part time. Curious to see how Gaines fits in tho. Suh and Hicks bring some nasty (especially Suh). I think the interior line will be ok. Hopefully the new LB coach can get JTS and D. White to perform up to their athletic ability and get some QBs on the ground.

    Physically, White reminds me a lot of Von Miller. Imagine if he could develop that skill set and technique and was used on the edge. Right now, he can’t get off the guy blocking him. Can it be taught or is it mostly instinct? Thoughts DRules?

  17. Beej Says:

    The reason the Bucs preferred Hicks over Suh was because Suh couldn’t cover runs to the outside anymore, and that was being exploited

  18. Destinjohnny Says:

    If u miss on 97% of the d linemen u draft…..
    U have to go the free agent route…..

  19. FrontFour Says:

    Sign Hicks to a per game deal – no doubt we were stronger with him but he missed half the season. Get younger, faster, more physical. Trade D White and get some draft picks. Done with this guy. Let’s bring guys in that WANT to be here.

  20. Crunchbuc Says:

    You are all forgetting what a busy our first picks in last year’s draft was. Hall isn’t in the conversation and he’s a first. That’s how bad Licht is at drafting dl. Resign Hicks or Gholsten.

  21. SOEbuc Says:

    Only to the write price. It was confirmed last year that his health is a large issue Year in and year out. When he did play, he was a force at times with Vita.

  22. BA’s Red Pen Says:

    AMF to that guy.

  23. sasquatch Says:

    Browsing from DC Says:
    April 16th, 2023 at 3:12 pm

    A Hicks and Suh rotation of about 10M total would be nice, especially if Vea continues as part time.

    Hicks AND Suh?
    For 10 million?
    No, no, and no!

    They’re not going to spend money on either one and definitely not both. This is the worst idea I’ve ever heard… Yeah, just waste 10 million and 2 roster spots on over-the-hill injury prone vets and don’t develop 2 young guys with upside who have the advantage of availability and affordability. Jeezus, where do you people come up with this crap? Suh wasn’t good for us in ’21 and Hicks was always hurt in ’22 and now you wanna put them together? That’s some serious dumbph0ueckery.

  24. sasquatch Says:

    Crunchbuc Says:
    April 16th, 2023 at 4:09 pm

    You are all forgetting what a busy our first picks in last year’s draft was. Hall isn’t in the conversation and he’s a first.

    Hall was a 2nd.

    Also, who do we have besides Vea and Hall? Gaines is on a one year contract and everyone is a JAG. We need to be building up a strong D line rotation, and that has nothing to do with how Hall performed in year one… and calling a rookie DL a bust after one year is ph0uecking retarded.

  25. sasquatch Says:

    I really don’t understand the fascination with forking over money to aging injury-prone vets when we’re trying to get younger, cheaper, and need AVAILABILITY!

    Sure, just pay a guy like Hicks and then complain when the D-line sucks because they’re playing some jagoff because Hicks is injured again. Where is the logic? Where is the development of players for the future?

    A team in the Bucs’ position should absolutely not be spending money on useless old vets.

  26. Crickett Baker Says:

    I think nearly 100% of our posters last year said that Hicks would be a great addition IF he could stay healthy. We now know the answer to that. He can’t. He should be off the table for certain.

    By the way, certain posters are misusing the English language by writing in a preposition instead of a helping verb. “He’d of”, “would of” etc. should never be written when it is correct to use “have” or the contraction, “‘ve”.

  27. Buc4evr Says:

    Need another veteran that can stay healthy. Not Hicks and not Suh.

  28. Brandon Jeff Says:

    Hi, and I’m sure many posters on here strive to use proper grammar. Auto correct, however, tends to make a mockery of that effort. Just saying.

  29. Brandon Jeff Says:

    As you can see, auto correct, did it again. what I said was, I and I’m sure many of the posters…

  30. steele Says:

    If there is gas in Akiem’s tank, it lasts about a mile. Then the wheels come off. Then the whole vehicle crashes, gets put into the shop for weeks.

    Only a team that is already extremely deep at DL can afford a part-time player like Hicks.


  31. D-Rok Says:

    Coach: “Hey Hicks! (Or any other 2-gapper): You will get no stats, no sacks, no pressures, no TFL’s to pad your career stats. Just occupy 2 OL, and your job is complete, and we will pay you handsomely.”

    Hicks (or any other DL in this scheme): “Ummm, OK Coach, whatever you want.”

    As more of a penetrating, disruptive DL, I expect Gaines to take exception to this coaching/teaching/philosophy.

    I know it’s a scheme thing – occupy 2 blockers, but c’mon man – release the dog in our DT’s!

    As a coaching/teaching point of view, what football player WANTS to just soak up blockers, allowing others (LB’s) to roam free and get all the stats?

  32. Defense Rules Says:

    As much as I clamored for Suh at the start of last year, I wouldn’t re-sign him this year. His time is past. His performance last season was quite unremarkable: 8 games, 176 def snaps (22 per game), 1 sack, 0 QB Knockdowns, 0 QB Hurries, 0 TFLs, 4 solo tackles, 6 assist tackles. The only good news was that he only charged Philly $2 mil to allow him to chase another ring for half a season. Pass.

    Hicks unfortunately wasn’t much better: 11 games (plus the playoff), 399 def snaps, 1 sack, 3 QB Knockdowns, 0 QB Hurries, 2 TFLs, 13 solo tackles, 9 assist tackles. Looks like he ended up costing us $7.3 mil for last year. Not very good performance for that amount of money in my book.

    The one DT very few have mentioned is Will Gholston (only 31 years old). Last season’s results: 17 games, 485 def snaps, 0 sacks, 5 QB Knockdowns, 0 QB Hurries, 4 TFLs, 24 solo tackles, 25 assist tackles. Last year he played on a $4.5 mil contract. I’d say the Bucs got a much better value in Will than we did in Akiem. I still can’t believe the Bucs haven’t re-signed him yet as our 3rd DT with Vea & Gaines. Draft a 4th big body in about Rounds 3-5 for the interior & we’ll be good to go there.

    (Sorry if that wasn’t brief enough for you Goatfarmer, but I don’t fall in love with 3-letter names like you apparently do.
    Performance counts in my book, and neither Suh nor Hicks showed me enough last season to warrant re-signing them).

  33. D-Rok Says:


    I agree. Re-sign Gholston for depth. Snap-wise, he’s earning his pay.

    But, from my post above, can’t you see how the coaching philosophy and scheme does NOT bring out the best in any DT the Bucs have?

    Change it up, bro’s. Turn our D-Line into killer monsters, and let D White learn how to shed some blocks and make some tackles, for once in his pro career.

  34. Pelsbuc61 Says:

    Move on, Bucs need to get younger, faster and more reliable.

  35. Defense Rules Says:

    Sasquatch … I don’t think that Hall’s a bust by any means, but I do think that he wasn’t physically prepared for playing interior DLine last season. He obviously has value to us, but more to the outside (DE/OLB) than on the interior IMO. He bulked up for the Combine to 283, but his average playing weight in college from the reports I read was closer to 260-270. He did run a 4.88 in the 40 at the Combine, so he’s not all that slow.

    Interestingly the Bucs website now shows him as a DE (6’6″ and 260 lbs). I’m wondering if they’ve now decided to keep him more outside, as a DE/OLB. Since our new defensive coach George Edwards will be working with outside linebackers, it’ll be interesting to see if they have Logan Hall work with him this preseason.

  36. Fansince76 Says:

    When Hicks was in there with Vea it made a noticeable difference, they should resign him.

  37. sasquatch Says:


    I just checked the website. They still show Hall as DL 6’6″ 283.

    But your point about him is worth considering. Was he over-inflated to get to 283 for the combine? Maybe he had problem keeping the weight on and strength up over the course of the season. Or maybe he just was too raw of a prospect to be drafted as highly as he was. Regardless, I’m hoping they get him at his ideal bodyweight to be most effective and get him ready to be a factor in year 2.

  38. Rod Munch Says:

    I’d probably sign Suh, because Hicks isn’t going to help you at all when he’s on IR for half the season. However Suh would almost certainly cost too much money, and who is to say he’d even want to play here again. But Suh has been remarkably healthy, so if you got him, at least you know there’s a good chance he’ll actually be in games.

  39. Defense Rules Says:

    D-Rok … Great perspective, and given the state of our DE/OLBs right now I agree with you. For kicks, go back and look at the 1997-2000 Bucs and compare them to the 2001 & later Bucs. Sapp & Culpepper dominated from 1997-1999 (most sacks together). But then again, our DEs weren’t really exceptional. We got Simeon Rice in 2001 and everything changed. Simeon dominated, but Sapp and McFarland (by that point) got a lot fewer sacks (Sapp had 16.5 sacks in 2000, but only 6 in 2001 when Rice came onboard & got 11 sacks).

    Maybe we’re at the point where we need to turn Vea & Gaines loose like you say, since we don’t have that truly dominant DE/OLB right now. Or, since Bowles seems to be very good at being unpredictable in terms of front looks, maybe all we need to do is just change it up more & ‘keep ’em guessing’.

  40. sasquatch Says:

    Even if Hall comes back and is ready to ball out in year 2, we still need to be adding more quality D linemen. Yeah, Edge is more of a need with the uncertainty around Shaq and JTS, but you can’t have enough good D linemen.

  41. Joe in Michigan Says:

    I don’t think Suh will come back to Tampa, and I’d probably rather have Will Gholston over Hicks. Big Will would probably sign for less and be on the field more.

  42. Defense Rules Says:

    Sasquatch … You’re spot on. I stand corrected; Bucs website shows Hall as 6’6″ & 283 lbs, which is what he weighed in at the Combine. I was looking at Pro-Football-Reference website and that one shows him as being 6’6″ & 260 lbs (that’s where I found his Combine stats BTW).

    Relooked at his draft profile on NFL website & their predictions came true, mostly.

    o ‘Hall played defensive tackle in college, but his playing style and physical profile are better suited for defensive end in a 3-4 alignment.’
    o ‘Improvement lies ahead for Hall, but he needs a scheme fit and extended runway as a rotational lineman.’

    In terms of his weaknesses, 2 stand out:

    o ‘Might not have a clean positional fit early on.’
    o ‘Manhandled by double-team blocks.’

  43. Goatfarmer Says:

    The Hicks or Suh stuff has an exclusionary term – vet minimum. Won’t happen. Especially with Suh.

    But if it could, for professionalism, leadership and durability – Suh. In rotation. He’s still be better than Stevie Mac was, who still made some plays for the Bucs his last year.

    Also, Gholston. Agree. Bring Will back.

    I guess I could have used 11,587 words to say that. My bad, Ben.

  44. Defense Rules Says:

    Goatfarmer … ‘The Hicks or Suh stuff has an exclusionary term – vet minimum. Won’t happen.’

    So your inputs to the topic thus far have been based on things that ‘won’t happen’. Good to know. Appreciate the brevity when taking positions that even you agree will never happen.

  45. Rod Munch Says:

    Goatfarmer – Licht has put everything they’ve done this offseason on next years credit card, and whoever they sign, the same thing will happen. They are not limited by a ‘vet min’ deal.

  46. Buccos Says:

    When both Hicks and Vea were on the field together, it was clear that we controlled the line of scrimmage and the other team was unable to run the ball effectively. We need to resign Hicks for a minimum veteran deal and try to get him through the season by limiting his snap count, and hopefully he will be ready for a playoff run.

  47. sasquatch Says:

    They may not be limited to a vet minimum deal, but putting aging, injury prone vets on the credit card is retarded unless they’re potentially a difference maker on a championship team. We ain’t that. Pass. I’d rather develop UDFAs than waste a roster space on an overpriced broken down mercenary squeezing us for his last pay day.

  48. Buccos Says:

    Hicks can still play and I’m out as a fan if we aren’t trying to win it all every year

  49. Goatfarmer Says:

    Defense Rules – is your real name Richard? Most Richards I know have marvelous senses of humor just like you and take an hour and a half telling everyone how the Swiss built watches so well in the 20th century, when “it’s ten after three” would have been the perfect answer.

    Suh. Just because.

  50. Dooley Says:

    Not a fan of bringing Hicks back and I think signing Gaines kind of cancels Hicks out of the 2023 Bucs equation. Waiting to hear if Gholston comes back though, I’ll take Will coming back no problem.

  51. optimisticbucsfan Says:

    why? he was awful…smdh…no

  52. Buccos Says:

    Bucs need to trade for Dalvin Cook and draft some hog mollies

  53. garro Says:

    Hicks made Vea better amd visa versa! Sign the man!

  54. garro Says:


    Selmon and Sapp hardly ever got singled and Hicks forced them to double him or Vea! They had to choose. I watched Hicks exclusively for a couple of series last year and found myself feeling sorry for the o-linemen who went against him.

  55. Crickett Baker Says:

    @Brandon Jeff–not to belabor the point but your sentence did not need “of the” in front of “posters” to convey the same idea. Although some auto-correct programs are somewhat questionable, none that I know of would pair a verb with a preposition. I use the free version of Grammarly and I find it excellent, BTW.

  56. D-Rok Says:


    Good points, and when both Vea and Hicks are healthy, they cannot be singled; indeed, both are just too big/strong/good.

    When Hicks came aboard last year, I was thinking (perhaps foolishly?) that having Vea and Hicks TOGETHER would create all sorts of problems for the O-line and blocking. Who do you single? Wouldn’t you almost always choose to double BOTH guys if both are in there? If all 4 interior blockers were only handling 2 guys, it would allow everyone else to run free, to eat. It would be a very disruptive front, in theory.

    But the Bucs didn’t choose to play it that way, rarely having both on field at same time. (I don’t have the snap %’s in front of me, but I’m sure some stat-savvy savant will whip up the numbers in no time, LOL).

    Hence, I’m perhaps in the minority here that wishes Hicks would be back. His price and his penchant for injury doesn’t please too many fans, but I think pairing Hicks and Vea would be effective. Turn the interior dogs loose, Coach – let ’em disrupt instead of be passive!!!!

  57. Goatfarmer Says:

    Some decent FAs out there including Hicks and Suh. Suh is available for the field. Hicks is injured all the time. But younger and more durable also appear available, see Joe’s link to “best available free agents” , even though it’s tempting to copy/paste it all here to exhibit verbosity and pomposity while expanding the fog index of the thread.

  58. Kidfloflo Says:

    Allbuccedup Says:
    April 16th, 2023 at 12:50 pm
    The Bucs need to get younger and faster trade Devin White for Ed Oliver of the Bills and draft another linebacker.. So Devin White is old and slow? Ok

  59. Goatfarmer Says:

    Suh. Just because.

  60. Jon Grudin Says:

    Suh – No, that ship has past

    Hicks – No, unless Bucs are trying to fill the left hot tub slot vacated by Julio Jones

    Ghoulston – YES he’s a solid player