Patriots: Possible trades Bill Belichick could make with leftover cap space
By Jerry Trotta
2. Pluck Jordan Hicks Out of Arizona
The Patriots will welcome the return of Dont’a Hightower with open arms after he opted out of last season following the birth of his son. There were rumors he could retire, but he ultimately nipped those in the bud and will assume his place in the middle of the defense.
With that being said, however, the Patriots linebacking corps leaves a lot to be desired even following the re-signing of Kyle Van Noy. There’s reason to believe Hightower lost a step after missing a full season, and the options behind him don’t inspire much confidence.
After all, Ja’Whaun Bentley isn’t a proven commodity, the jury is still out on Raekwon McMillan, and the likes of Anfernee Jennings and Terez Hall, both of whom entered the fold after last year’s draft, lack the required experience.
Jordan Hicks could fortify the Patriots’ linebacking corps.
Taking that into account, the Patriots could absolutely justify targeting Jordan Hicks, who was granted permission by the Cardinals to seek a trade after they drafted Tulsa standout Zaven Collins with the No. 16 overall pick last month to replace him as the starter.
This gesture, for lack of a better term, was viewed as a surprise among analysts, and understandably so, given that Hicks was invaluable over his two seasons in Arizona.
During that span, Hicks appeared in all 32 games and played 96% of the defensive snaps, registering 268 tackles (22 for loss), four interceptions, 10 passes defended, eight quarterback hits, two forced fumbles and 12 total pressures.
When you consider the Cardinals conceded all of their leverage by granting Hicks permission to seek a trade, the Patriots might be able to acquire him for a relatively cheap haul. With that in mind, the least they could do is get Arizona on the phone.