PFF: Cardinals among top 5 FA winners, Hicks deal ‘very good’
After finishing 2018 tied for the worst record since moving to Arizona, the Cardinals received some praise from Pro Football Focus on their offseason.
PFF examined each team’s additions and subtractions by using each individual’s WAR (Wins Above Replacement) figure from the last season they played. For clarification, the WAR figure is a analytic used to roughly measure the number of wins a team receives from a certain player over a “street-level” free agent.
With all that taken into account, PFF ranked the Cardinals fifth on its top 5 free agency winners list of the 2019 offseason.
The ranking was provided with a description:
Bolstering their defense under new head coach Kliff Kingsbury seemed to be a priority entering free agency as they quickly signed Terrell Suggs and Jordan Hicks while letting failed first-round pick Deone Bucannon finally walk after five years with the team. Bucannon cost the team nearly a quarter of a win last season while Suggs and Hicks each were worth a third of a win or more for their respective teams in 2018.
Entering his 16th NFL season, linebacker Terrell Suggs is coming off his 11th year in which he played in all 16 games for the Baltimore Ravens. Last season, the 36-year-old recorded seven sacks, 13 tackles for loss and combined for 34 total tackles.
As for linebacker Jordan Hicks, the 26-year-old is coming off yet another productive season with the Philadelphia Eagles. A year ago, Hicks posted career highs in sacks (3), quarterback hits (6) and combined tackles (91).
In PFF’s 2019 NFL free agency deal grader, Hicks signing with the Cardinals was listed under the “very good” category.
Hicks was our top-ranked off-ball linebacker available in free agency this season due to his abilities in coverage. In his four seasons with the Eagles, his lowest coverage grade for a season was 71.5 in 2017, a mark still above average. He has surrendered just one touchdown into his coverage in each of his four NFL seasons and has accumulated seven interceptions and seven pass breakups in that span. Josh Bynes was Arizona’s highest-graded linebacker in coverage last year (63.7), and he remains a free agent.
The Cardinals also added more depth to their roster with the signings of backup quarterback Brett Hundley, offensive lineman J.R. Sweezy, and receiver Kevin White.
Along with their free agent acquisitions, the Cardinals will have the chance to continue their productive offseason come draft day.
Including the No. 1 overall pick, the Cardinals own 11 draft picks in the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft.