3 former star players Patriots can still sign in free agency

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Akiem Hicks, New England Patriots

Akiem Hicks #96 of the Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

2. DT Akiem Hicks

In his prime, Hicks was a monster that would absolutely bludgeon offensive linemen and eat up space while fitting against the run. Injuries and age have slowed him down, but he can still be an effective player if he goes to a scheme that will utilize his talents properly.

Hicks is a few years removed from a Pro Bowl selection, but he has only played in 30 games over the last three seasons. With the defensive line depth to hedge against a potential injury, New England could roll the dice on a player who has been consistently underrated his whole career.

Akiem Hicks would really help the Patriots on the inside

While his 335-pound frame will eat up multiple blockers and allow New England’s linebacking corps to thrive, Hicks brings with him a veteran edge that could complement Christian Barmore’s explosion. They would give New England one of the game’s best defensive lines.

Hicks is a gamble, and he might eschew the Pats in favor of a team that has a better chance of reaching a championship this year. However, the Patriots should not be worried about bringing him in if he is willing to link up with a fringe playoff team. Belichick loves to have goliath linemen playing 0 tech and 1 tech, and Hicks could dominate at both spots.

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