With J.J. Watt seemingly done for the year, the Arizona Cardinals must make a deal with the Chicago Bears for defensive tackle Akiem Hicks.
I know what’s on your mind. Why would the Arizona Cardinals want to replace such a good pass rusher with an interior defensive lineman, and why is it Akiem Hicks of the Chicago Bears? Well, there’s a big reason why Hicks should be the top candidate to come to the desert before this year’s trade deadline.
Arizona‘s rushing defense has been the team’s weakest spot on the entire team. The Cardinals have given up the 12th-most rushing yards on the season, with an average of 5.0 yards per attempt allowed to their opponents (the Los Angeles Rams are first with 5.4 ypc allowed). Hicks does have his own injury issues, however, one stat makes acquiring him all worth it.
In 2018, when Hicks has been in the lineup for Chicago, they allowed less than 80 yards of rushing per game. That was with teammate Eddie Goldman, but Jordan Phillips and or Zach Allen can help fulfill that role in Arizona.
- Cardinals get
- Akiem Hicks
- Bears get
- 2022 second-round pick
- 2023 fifth-round pick
Arizona Cardinals pass rush may dip slightly, but they’ve done more with less
Last season when the Cardinals lost Chandler Jones early in the year due to a biceps tear, uncertainty surrounded Vance Joseph’s pass rushers.
That was proven to be not much of an issue at all as Arizona finished fourth in the league with 48 sacks. Guys like Dennis Gardeck, Jordan Hicks, and Isaiah Simmons really helped the pass rush adhere to its high standard.
That’s why missing J.J. Watt in the pass rush department isn’t such a big loss. The rushing defense however is how the Cardinals were run out of the playoffs last season (quite literally in their last two games of the year).
This trade allows for Arizona to improve one of their worst areas on the team and limit the “keep-away” games that opposing offenses may use to limit Kyler Murray‘s effectiveness on the field.
The Bears don’t have a first-round pick in 2022 thanks to the Justin Fields deal they made in this year’s draft, and if the Cardinals are told that’s the price, then Arizona general manager Steve Keim should pay that price.
This is a historic Cardinals team and they’ve already made one trade so far this season when they acquired tight end Zach Ertz from the Philadelphia Eagles. Why not continue to go all-in and help increase your chances of winning your first title in 74 years?