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Cowboys Free Agency: 2 Reasons for Dallas’ Take on DT Akiem Hicks

Hicks lingers on the free agency front, but the Cowboys are likely better off with their homegrown assets.

Could another star-branded Dallas sports franchise look to a Canada-based difference-maker? 

As the NFL inches closer toward minicamp dates, several high-profile free agents linger on the ledger. Akiem Hicks, a University of Regina alum, is among them after six seasons with the Chicago Bears. Set to turn 33 in November, the interior defender Hicks is one of the more experienced players left on the market and has maintained a sense of consistency over a 10-year career that began as a third-round choice in New Orleans in 2012.  

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Hicks could help plug up a Dallas run defense that ranked 20th in the league last season, allowing 115.9 yards per game and letting up 169 more during their NFC Wild Card loss to San Francisco. His experience would also be welcome, as Trysten Hill is the most experienced-in-Dallas member of the Cowboys' interior defensive line at four seasons.

But all signs suggest that the Cowboys believe they would be better off developing what they have now. 

Dallas has spent the most recent drafts trying to upgrade their big-bodied tackles, with fifth-rounder John Ridgeway arriving from Arkansas in the last month. The team brought in Osa Odighizuwa and Quinton Bohanna the year before, and Neville Gallimore (3rd, 2020) is also high on the current depth chart. 

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In short: What Hicks does as a wide-body is what Bohanna and Ridgeway are specifically hired to do.

With the team armed with a situation that could yield instant success (evidenced by 12 wins last season, their best tally since 2016), the Cowboys think they are better off trying to develop their current defensive core rather than opting for a potentially pricey rental in Hicks. 

Additionally, the aging Hicks has also dealt with injuries over the recent stages of his career: after missing only three games in his first seven years, ailments have cost Hicks 20 in the past three. 

Signing Hicks would certainly be the act of a "win now" team and Dallas has the cap space (10th in the league at $13.4 million). But they're better off attempting to work out the prospects they have now instead of investing in a potential one-and-done veteran.