Arizona Cardinals taking risk with newly-signed linebacker

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 06: Jordan Hicks #58 of the Philadelphia Eagles sacks Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on September 6, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 06: Jordan Hicks #58 of the Philadelphia Eagles sacks Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on September 6, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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The Arizona Cardinals are obviously convinced that inside linebacker Jordan Hicks‘ injury problems are a thing of the past

Just over a week ago, the Arizona Cardinals’ front office made a somewhat surprising move. Starting linebacker Josh Bynes was sent packing, creating a hole in the middle of the squad’s new-look defense. Thanks to the release, the Cards’ ample list of offseason needs grew even larger.

In a matter of days, six to be exact, a replacement for Bynes was found. At first glance, the acquisition of free agent Jordan Hicks looks like a good one for the Cardinals. A closer look at the situation, however, reveals that the club may be taking a huge risk with the former Philadelphia Eagle.

Hicks, due to various injuries, has missed 21 games in the four years he has spent in the NFL. When healthy, the 6’1, 238-lb Hicks has racked up some impressive statistics at the linebacker spot. Hicks, unfortunately, has been unable to avoid the injury bug on a consistent basis.

The problems with Hicks started back in 2015, during his rookie campaign. After a few outstanding performances for the Eagles, the third-round draft pick fell victim to a torn pectoral muscle. Hicks, who was placed on the injured-reserve list in November of that year, was leading the team in tackles when his season came to an end.

After making it through 2016 unscathed, Hicks got hurt again in ’17. The University of Texas product ruptured his Achilles’ tendon during a week seven contest versus the Washington Redskins. Another trip to the injured-reserve list ensued, thanks to Hicks’ second season-ending injury in three professional campaigns.

This past November, an ankle injury suffered in week 12 sidelined Hicks. The 26-year old would miss the remainder of the regular season but did return for Philadelphia’s two playoff matchups. Hicks did look completely recovered from the ankle issue when he recorded nine tackles during the Eagles’ postseason defeat to the New Orleans Saints this past January.

There’s no denying Hicks’ effectiveness when he’s in the lineup. In 43 career appearances, the veteran has tallied 254 tackles, seven interceptions,19 pass breakups, and five sacks.

While all of that is well and good, it’s the contract that Arizona handed Hicks that has raised some eyebrows. The talented defender signed a four-year, $36 million deal with $20 million guaranteed. Those numbers appear to be a bit excessive for an individual who’s been sidelined as often as Hicks has.

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For now, optimism will prevail. The organization is obviously confident that it’s investment’s injury woes are behind him. With a little luck, Hicks will prove to be the iron man that the Cards are counting on him to be in the desert.

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