Patriots rumors: This N’Keal Harry trade idea similar to Akiem Hicks deal

New England Patriots N'Keal Harry (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
New England Patriots N'Keal Harry (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

A rumored New England Patriots N’Keal Harry trade, if it’s a player-for-player, swap may be reminiscent of a trade some years ago that worked out exceedingly well for the team.

That trade was between the Patriots and the New Orleans Saints.

It was one of those rare straight-up swaps and the Patriots got far better as a result of the deal. Any ideas? Enough suspense, the Patriots received Akiem Hicks.

Hicks was a massive defensive tackle (6’5 and 324 pounds according to ESPN). Going back to the Saints was a tight end, Michael Hoomanawanui.

Hooman, as he was called, caught a whopping 17 passes in 26 games for New Orleans thereafter and was out of the league after 2017.

Hicks at the time was just 25 years old. He was what we Patriots’ fans might term a great gift from Sean Payton of the Saints to Bill Belichick.

The trade took place in September of 2015 and as Mike Reiss reported, Payton needed a third tight end.

New England Patriots Akiem Hicks great season in red, white, blue, and silver

Keep in mind that the great Vince Wilfork had left for the Houston Texans that offseason. Future Patriots defensive linemen will all likely be compared to Big Vince.

The Patriots needed an infusion of talent on the interior defensive line to replace that all-time great. They got it in Hicks.

Hicks had a really solid season for the Patriots, racking up the following line of stats without having started a game.

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Hicks notched 21 tackles along with three sacks, seven quarterback hits, five tackles for loss, as well as a fumble recovery and touchdown in the 13 games in which he played.

That year, the Patriots went 12-4 and lost in the AFC Championship game to the Denver Broncos after beating Kansas City in the Divisional round.

Yet, Hicks did his part. He was a disruptive interior presence whose size and strength was a handful for any and every offensive lineman he faced. He was simply a force of nature that year for New England, but there was a problem going forward.

Hicks was in the final year of his contract and would become a free agent after the season. Any keen observer would have to have been aware of his terrific performance for the Patriots that season and that he clearly should be re-signed.

Anyone that is, except evidently the decision-makers on the New England Patriots. They didn’t, at least not to a sufficient extent. And that was an unfortunate decision that impacted the team significantly.

Hicks left for the Windy City of Chicago on a nice deal with the Bears. Here’s what it looked like,

"Akiem Hicks signed a 4 year, $48,000,000 contract with the Chicago Bears, including a $7,500,000 signing bonus, $30,000,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $12,000,000. In 2021, Hicks will earn a base salary of $10,400,000 and a workout bonus of $100,000, while carrying a cap hit of $12,000,000 and a dead cap value of $1,500,000."

No doubt, it was a hefty piece of change, but with Wilfork gone and Hicks only entering his age-26 season, it was a signing that should have been made by the Patriots.

Hicks played the past five seasons with the Bears. The first three were terrific. He racked up seven, eight and a half, and seven and a half sacks in his first three years in Chicago. Each of those years’ sack totals would have beaten last year’s leader on the Patriots by at least one and a half sacks.

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In 2019, Hicks went out with an elbow injury and only played in five games. Last season, he bounced back with 27 quarterback hits, three and a half sacks, and 49 total tackles. That was another nice season, indeed.

This writer thought then and still thinks it was a big mistake by the Patriots not to resign Hicks. In any event, should a trade for N’Keal Harry for another player eventuate, let’s hope the Patriots get a player like Akiem Hicks in return. It would be another great one.