The Philadelphia Eagles are losing their starting middle linebacker. NFL insider Ian Rapoport reports Jordan Hicks is signing a four-year, $36 million deal worth $20 million guaranteed to go play for the Arizona Cardinals.
It’s not a shock that the Eagles didn’t spend big to keep Hicks. Here’s what I wrote about his outlook back in February:
Hicks is going to be a free agent and I don’t think it’s likely the Eagles will keep him. Signing him to a long-term deal is risky considering he’s played in just 43 out of 64 possible regular season games since being drafted in 2015. Hicks also hasn’t logged a single interception or forced fumble in the past two seasons. If Hicks’ market dries up, it could make sense for him to return to Philly on a one-year deal. But I think some other team in free agency will throw more money at him than the Eagles are comfortable paying. It’ll be a shame to see Hicks go because he was once such a promising talent early in his career. You have to wonder if the injury issues have sapped his power to some extent.
Hicks is only 26 years old so the Cardinals are comfortable taking a risk on his upside. Here’s hoping he manages to stay healthy and play well.
Hicks leaving Philly means the Eagles will have to find a new starting linebacker in 2019. Jim Schwartz primarily uses two linebacker sets so we’ll have to see who ends up starting next to Nigel Bradham. Are the Eagles comfortable with giving Kamu Grugier-Hill and/or Nathan Gerry a bigger role? Will they sign a stop-gap free agent with connections to Philly like Josh Bynes or Preston Brown?
We’ll soon see how the Eagles plan to address the position.
In the meantime, Hicks signing with the Cardinals figures to help the Eagles’ compensatory pick formula. BGN alumnus Jimmy Kempski notes Hicks’ new contract should net Philly a fourth- or fifth-round selection in the 2020 NFL Dratt.