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Bucs D-line looking downright terrifying after signing former Bears star

The Bucs defensive line is looking stronger than ever after they signed former Chicago Bears star Akiem Hicks to a contract this afternoon.

NFL free agency is mostly over with for the 2022 offseason, but there are still some big names on the market looking for homes. One of them just came off the board this afternoon when Akiem Hicks signed a one-year deal worth up to $10 million with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Hicks made a name for himself with the Chicago Bears, and he ended up being selected to the Pro Bowl in 2018. Hicks became a phenomenal two-way player in the trenches for the Bears, as he could clog the running lanes and rush the passer up the middle.

However, Hicks’s production has taken a bit of a dip over the past few seasons, as he has struggled to stay on the field due to injuries. But it’s clear that when Hicks is on the field, he’s one of the most consistent interior defensive linemen in the league.

Bucs defensive line could end up being one of the best in the league after signing Akiem Hicks

Hicks addition solidifies what was already a good Tampa Bay defensive line. He may not be an every-down player like he once was, but it’s clear that he should come in and make an impact right off the bat.

The Bucs should be able to easily slide Hicks into a starting role alongside star defensive tackle Vita Vea, and second-round pick Logan Hall. This probably means Hicks will be playing as a defensive end rather than a defensive tackle considering how good Vea has been over the past few seasons, but Hicks has been effective throughout his career no matter where he has lined up.

Vea returned in 2021 after missing most of the 2020 season with injuries and ended up being selected to the first Pro Bowl of his career. He commands two guys to block him in the middle of the Bucs’ d-line, and he opens up opportunities for everyone else on defense because of his work in the trenches.

Hall on the other hand will be looking to come in and secure a starting role in his first season, which he should be able to do. He had six sacks and 13 tackles for a loss during his final collegiate season with Houston, and with Hicks and Vea alongside him, he should be able to make a name for himself right off the bat.

Combine a solid defensive line with a linebacker corps that still features Lavonte David, Shaq Barrett, and Devin White, and Tampa Bay is looking as scary as ever. Strange to think that just a few months ago, it seemed like they were headed for a rebuild once Tom Brady announced his retirement.

But now that Brady is back, the Bucs look as potent as ever, and in a weaker NFC conference, they may have officially reestablished themselves as the team to beat.

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