The Cardinals needed help at linebacker coming into free agency, and Jordan Hicks was a natural fit.
It didn’t hurt that the veteran, going into his fifth season, was enamored with what defensive coordinator Vance Joseph wants to do with his philosophy.
“I know he likes to bring the heat, keep it simple and play fast, and that’s what I like to do,” Hicks said. “I consider myself a playmaker.
“With pressure comes bad decisions by the quarterback.”
Hicks, who signed a four-year contract with a reported $20 million in guarantees, said Friday he had some options after playing out his contract in Philadelphia. The Cardinals, with Joseph and with head coach Kliff Kingsbury (who Hicks went against in college at Texas when Kingsbury coached at Texas Tech), made sense to him.
Hicks, who turns 27 in June, is expected to slide into one of the Cardinals’ strongside inside linebacker spot alongside 2017 first-round pick Haason Reddick. Known as a three-down linebacker who can excel in coverage, Hicks provides flexibility with whatever Joseph might want to call.
The key will be Hicks being on the field.
The former Eagle missed four games in 2018 and nine in 2017. He has been productive when he has played, piling up 91 tackles (and missing just five, according to Pro Football Focus) and three sacks last season in Philadelphia. A third-round pick of the Eagles in 2015, Hicks has seven career interceptions.
He tore his Achilles in 2017 and dealt with a calf injury last season before splitting time with Nigel Bradham.
“Obviously, the onus is on me,” Hicks said. “I’ve never seen myself as an injury-prone guy. Every time I get hurt I think it’s the last time in my career. I’m approaching it that same way. I truly believe that’s all behind me. Excited to prove that.”
Hicks has some connections with the Cardinals. Linebackers coach Bill Davis was Hicks’ defensive coordinator in Philadelphia during Hicks’ rookie season. And fellow Cardinals linebacker Joe Walker was an Eagles teammate for three years.
”At the end of the day,” Hicks said, “I was pretty impressed with everything going on around here.”