Hicks’ agent, Frank Murtha, has confirmed the trade. But I doubt it. Defenders who have left the decade-old calamity that is the New Orleans defense don’t have a track record of suddenly improving elsewhere. The Pats have not needed Hoomanawanui with Rob Gronkowski and Scott Chandler on the roster and he has not had a reception yet this season. Hoomanawanui was not even active in Week 3, as the Patriots had clearly moved on from him.
Thomas was mainly a blocker during his time in New Orleans from 2009-2012 and managed to snag 81 receptions for 677 yards and seven touchdowns.
Hoomanawanui, who spent the last three years in New England, had fallen down the depth chart with the Patriots. So the problem, Ninkovich aside, with the Saints’ defense hasn’t been a failure to develop players like Hicks. Things aren’t great. On Thursday, they traded defensive lineman Akiem Hicks to the Patriots. He has been given opportunities at both defensive end and defensive tackle but remained ineffective.
“NOLA’s Katherine Terrell writes, “(Hicks) played only in nickel packages against the Panthers, appearing to fall out of the rotation to younger players such as rookie Bobby Richardson.
It’s clear there was a few degree of tension between Graham and the Saints dating back to his contract negotiations. But they didn’t need the free cap space for the surprising player swap they made Wednesday.
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Blount comes in with 82 yards in two games this season and he did the bulk of that against the Jaguars this past weekend. The Patriots now rotate Dominique Easley, Sealver Siliga, Alan Brach and Malcom Brown at defensive tackle, and Hicks certainly has the talent to break into that rotation.
Hicks was a third round pick in 2012.
The move to the New England Patriots by Akiem Hicks is being praised by former teammate Jimmy Graham.