Potential cap casualty that could help the Dallas Cowboys
Several options will be available to the Dallas Cowboys to step up their defenses, and help should come from teams that are short of funds. This year’s off-season has got off to a hot start and the new league year has not even begun.
Pro Bowl players like JJ Watt and Kawaan Short are already in the market, and more than a handful of players are released when teams try to stay below the salary threshold. With the salary cap projected to be $ 180 million, or about $ 20 million lower than last year’s cap, teams face tough choices regarding some of their seasoned players.
The cowboys will be in a place where they can upgrade their defenses for a reasonable price as most of the teams will be pretty thin. Fewer options for the players mean more options for that soccer team.
Speaking of opportunities, I’ve spent the day researching other teams’ salary caps and there are a few situations that could mean opportunities for the Dallas Cowboys. I couldn’t find any hard sources suggesting this player might be on the way out, but their salary history tells a different story.
I recently talked about how Denver Broncos Pass Rusher Von Miller could find his way to Dallas if released, but there is an interior designer who might be of interest as well. The player could also be a trade candidate, but I doubt the cowboys would be interested in his current salary.
The Dallas Cowboys are no stranger to having a defense attorney from Canada. Neville Gallimore and Tyrone Crawford are both the latest examples, but our northern neighbors’ best (so far) interior designer, assuming the league has to play Akiem Hicks defensively.
This 6-foot-4,350-pound interior decorator played 15 games last season after suffering an injury-related season the previous year but posting one of his worst professional seasons. His $ 12 million cap this coming season mixed with his age (31) makes him a candidate to look out for.
The Chicago Bears are roughly $ 6 million above the cap and have yet to find a quarterback. Since the team is so heavily invested in the defensive side of the ball, namely in the defensive line, it is out of the question to connect the points with a clearance. The bears are already paying massive salaries to edge rushers Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn, so cost cutting is a must.
With so much invested in the line of defense, it makes sense to cut the salary for this position group. I’m sure the bears would rather let Quinn go since his salary wasn’t up to his production, but his cap hit is just unrealistic.
Releasing Hicks creates $ 1.5 million in dead money, but the team gets the remainder of their base salary of $ 10.5 million. It’s not enough to get a quarterback, of course, but this kind of salary cap relief without a ton of dead money is the tough decision general managers face when putting together a roster. Hicks makes up 6.4 percent of the Bears salary cap.
For those of you who think the bears should restructure to keep him, Hicks is in his final year of business, which makes it a moot point. The Bears might try to extend Hicks, but that all depends on their quarterback chase.
The Dallas Cowboys have a serious need in the defensive position and their penchant for deploying a Canadian defender could bring Hicks to Dallas. Ok, that’s silly to think, but playing for America’s team to regain your place among the sport’s bigger names isn’t far-fetched.
Players like Robert Quinn and Xavier Sua-Filo have made more money in the open market than they probably should have, and I attribute that to the pedestal the cowboys place them on. Hicks could join Big D for a year in hopes of catching up so he can maximize his future earnings.
I’ve looked at some of his tapes last season and the first thing you notice about Hicks is that he has a fun three-point stance that tech coaches would drive crazy while younger kids shouldn’t try to copy.
I also see a man who is seldom dragged from his place that Dallas desperately needs. The interesting part is that he can still occasionally collapse the bag like he did in the 2018 season. The bears usually let him play the one-technique, but I’ve seen them try to get him into one-on-one situations by playing the three-technique spot.
Hicks uses a version of Reggie White’s “hump train” in which a player moves in one direction. When the offensive lineman flips him over, Hicks uses the player’s own body weight to hit him and try to throw him off balance and have a free run with the quarterback.
It’s very effective, but he might rely a little too much on this step. His presence on the goal line is amazing as he can stack and discard Lineman without sacrificing ground.
The Dallas Cowboys fight with zone teams like the ones the Los Angeles Rams like to use. This running pattern allows some back defenders to not be blocked, but Hicks seems to thrive in this position. His setback to Alvin Kamara in the bear wildcard loss is a thing of beauty and should be taught at all levels.
Hicks is also effectively used in a stunt and can get to the quarterback in a rush. Hicks also loves to show emotion towards the individual he is beating. The cowboys also lack this kind of fiery interior game and trash talk. I didn’t even mention the impact his presence would have on the rest of the line of defense, particularly fellow countryman Neville Gallimore.
The only blow to Hicks is his love of late quarterback hits. If Hicks has you in his sights, the chances that he’ll wear off are slim and he’ll shoot unnecessarily after the quarterback clears the ball. Hicks plays like he’s still living in the days before quarterback protection.
Dallas is always associated with big-name players, but if it gets released a lesser-known Pro Bowl player like Hicks should be the free agent target we all hope for.