Former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Jordan Hicks signed a four-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals on Friday, the team officially announced.
The deal will pay him up to $36 million. It includes a $12 million signing bonus and $20 million is guaranteed, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
After suffering an Achilles injury in 2017, Hicks returned to play 12 games last season, tallying career highs with 91 tackles and three sacks.
While he proved his pass coverage skills well before that — Hicks posted career highs with five picks and 11 passes defensed in 2016 — he graded out 10th in the NFL in run-defense during the 2018 season, per Pro Football Focus. PFF ranked Hicks as the top free agent linebacker.
With the Cardinals releasing middle linebacker Josh Bynes before free agency hit and as free agent Deone Bucannon prepares to join former Arizona coach Bruce Arians in Tampa Bay, former first-round pick Haason Reddick is the only Cardinals inside linebacker who played snaps last year that is on the roster.
Under defensive coordinator Vance Joseph’s guidance, the Cardinals will be switching to a 3-4 look, shifting former defensive end Chandler Jones to outside linebacker. Arizona also added Tucson-raised outside linebacker Brooks Reed before the free agency period began and inked fellow outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, who went to Hamilton High School in Chandler and then ASU before embarking on his NFL career.
Hicks, 26, was a third-round draft pick by Philadelphia in 2015 out of Texas.
Arizona entered free agency wanting to spend smartly but needing quality additions at linebacker. Big-name linebackers Kwon Alexander (four years, up to $54 million) and C.J. Mosley (five years, up to $85 million) have already agreed to pricey deals with the San Francisco 49ers and New York Jets, respectively.