Chargers Free Agency

3 defensive free agents over 30 the LA Chargers must avoid signing

Los Angeles Chargers v Cincinnati Bengals
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Akiem Hicks, Brian O'Neill
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2. Akiem Hicks

The more I have thought about Akiem Hicks the more I have convinced myself that he would not be a great target for the LA Chargers. Earlier in the offseason it seemed like Hicks would be a slam-dunk signing for the Bolts to make. He has ties to Brandon Staley and would help shore up the interior defensive line.

If Hicks comes for cheap then it would not be a bad signing, especially if he is brought in alongside other defensive tackles that could help the cause. However, Hicks is not going to be cheap and if the Chargers sign him then that probably means that they missed out on someone who is younger and better at stopping the run, Sebastian Joseph-Day.

Hicks is projected to get an identical contract to the one that Linval Joseph received from the Chargers two offseasons ago: a two-year, $17 million deal. In theory, replacing Joseph with Hicks would be fine but in reality, the Chargers would just be replacing one older, regressing defensive lineman with another.

Hicks is going to turn 33 during the season and is only one year younger than Linval Joseph is now. The Chargers could very well get the same level of production from Hicks in 2022 that they got from Joseph in 2021 and that could even go down in 2023. And while Joseph was fine, he obviously was not "saving" the run defense, as some expect Hicks to do.

He is already showing signs of being more likely to get hurt (as most older players do) as he played in just nine games last season. Hicks posted a 13.9% pass-rush win rate compared to Joseph's 13.4% and a 7.9% run stop rate compared to Joseph's 9.3%.