Cardinals LB Jordan Hicks Will Miss 'Infectious' Energy of Joe Walker
It is the season of change in the NFL. The offseason, as it is more commonly called, or the business season.
The Arizona Cardinals have been one of the busiest teams during the free-agency period and have seen six players from last year's roster switch teams, while retaining 11 of their own free agents in the process. One of the more notable departures is inside linebacker Joe Walker, who signed a one-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers after working his way into the starting lineup alongside Jordan Hicks in 2019.
"Me and Joe went through four straight training camps together," Hicks said. "So we were in (Philadelphia) together for three and then we were in Arizona together this past year."
A seventh-round draft pick in 2016 from Oregon by the Philadelphia Eagles, Walker had predominately played a core special teams role for much of his career until last season. The Cardinals acquired Walker on Sept. 19, 2018, signing him from the Eagles' practice squad. After appearing in 14 games with no starts that year, Walker exceeded expectations in 2019 playing in all 16 games and starting 11. He finished the year with 63 tackles, five tackles for loss, one quarterback hit and one forced fumble.
The loss of Walker directly impacts Hicks as he now will have to learn the tendencies of a new starter — likely former Atlanta Falcon De'Vondre Campbell who the franchise signed in free agency.
"We got to know each other really well and I learned how to feed off of his energy," Hicks said. "He had a different type of energy that was very infectious. I've got nothing but good things to say about Joe. I'm gonna miss him. I'm still in contact with him. He's definitely going to be missed in the locker room. He's a fun guy to be around."
Walker's new one-year deal with the 49'ers is worth $900,000. There is a base salary of $825,000 and per-game roster bonuses worth up to $75,000.