According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Arizona Cardinals have granted LB Jordan Hicks permission to seek a trade in the aftermath of them naming Zaven Collins—last month’s first round pick—as starting middle linebacker.
1st round draft picks can change plans: The #AZCardinals picked LB Zaven Collins 16th overall, and he is now the starting MIKE backer. The team has given Jordan Hicks permission to find a new home via trade, source said. Hicks is a respected leader & AZ wants to do right by him.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 12, 2021
With this being the time of year for rumors to appear out of thin air (logic be damned), it didn’t take long for murmurs of Hicks returning to Philly to make there way into the public discourse. The Eagles have a minor (though certainly not glaring) need at linebacker, and given Hicks history here a reunion would make sense.
Some fans and pundits have suggested that Arizona (in a deal for Hicks) would be the ideal trade destination for Zach Ertz, whose bags have been packed for a good five months now. The rationale follows like this: Arizona already has $12.5 million in cap space, and trading Hicks post-June 1st saves an additional $2.94 million. On top of that, the Cardinals clearly believe they’re a contender—adding JJ Watt made that loud and clear—making them one of a small few destinations for Ertz.
There aren’t many teams in the NFL who a) plan to contend, b) have cap space, and c) have a need at TE. Arizona satisfies all three of those criteria and that’s why this rumor has such strong merit despite otherwise being completely baseless.
– Eagles need LB, Cardinals need TE— Thomas R. Petersen 🦅 (@thomasrp93) May 12, 2021
– Both Hicks and Ertz reportedly seek trades
– Eagles can save 8.5 mil, Cardinals have plenty cap
– Players get what their wish, teams fill needs
A trade could make sense for both sides. Would clear cap to sign a CB like Steven Nelson.#Eagles pic.twitter.com/ki730eCeO9
Across 32 consecutive starts with Arizona, Hicks totaled 268 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, and 4 interceptions. The key takeaway there is his ability to stay healthy; in his final two seasons with the Eagles he missed a total of 13 games, and injury problems factored heavily into the decision to trade him in the first place. 16 starts in each of the past two seasons obviously alleviate those concerns.
While these Hicks-Ertz rumors are purely just that, it’s hard to deny to logic behind them, and it’s easy to see the stars aligning for this deal to happen. Trades are somewhat of a rarity in the NFL for a number of reasons, but this feels as straightforward as they come. As much as it‘ll hurt to see Ertz go, adding a familiar face in Hicks in return would do a lot to soften the blow.