The Tampa Bay Buccaneers loss in the Wild Card round to the Cowboys will send them on a path without these three players.
The Dallas Cowboys held up their end of the bargain on the Monday Night Football iteration of Wild Card weekend, beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-14. It was a strange season for Tampa Bay.
A new head coach, a renewed hope with Tom Brady deciding to come back to the team after initially retiring, and a year underscored by his off-field life issues that served as more of a distraction than anything else.
Plus, Brady’s first losing season ever.
The Bucs made the playoffs because they played in the worst division in the league. Of the teams in the division, they absolutely had the best chance of pulling things together in the postseason, but clearly, they couldn’t do it.
Dallas gave Tampa opportunities to get back in it, including an astonishing four missed PATs. The Bucs didn’t capitalize, and that’s how we find ourselves here, looking at which free agents won’t be returning in 2023.
Buccaneers who are done in Tampa Bay after Cowboys loss: Akiem Hicks
Akiem Hicks proved he has a little bit left in the tank to offer this season, and that could very well earn him a solid contract. Maybe one more year for Hicks to ring chase, since he doesn’t have a Super Bowl to his decade-plus-long career yet?
Spotrac thinks Hicks will be good for a two-year contract at $11.2 million. There will be several fringe playoff teams that would be interested in adding him to their defense at that cost structure.
There is a case to be made that Hicks is slowing down and could also consider retirement. He had a career-low in QB hits and put up a season that was bottom-three for him in sacks, combined tackles and tackles for losses. He did improve slightly in terms of Pro Football Reference’s approximate value this year compared to last, though.
Could Hicks return to TB? Sure, we suppose it’s possible. But for a player closing down his career, it’ll make a lot more sense if he retires or finds one more team to get that elusive Super Bowl ring with.
BEST OPTIONS TO REPLACE AKIEM HICKS
- Internal roster: Patrick O’Connor
- Free agency: Javon Hargrave
- Draft: Siaki Ika