Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Jordan Hicks has the team’s permission to seek a trade with first-round pick Zaven Collins training to start at the position.
Collins was a pass rusher at Tulsa but is being groomed to be the first-team linebacker in the middle of the Cardinals’ defense this season.
That puts Hicks in a backup role.
NFL Network reported Wednesday that Hicks was granted permission to look for a trade.
Hicks, 28, entered the league with the Philadelphia Eagles and signed a four-year deal with the Cardinals as a free agent in 2019.
Earlier this offseason, Hicks agreed to pay reductions in 2021 and 2022. He reduced his salary in 2021 from $5 million to $2 million.
Collins was the 16th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
General manager Steve Keim said the Cardinals entered the draft with five “Alpha Birds” and Collins was among the prospects with that blue-chip rating. When he was available at 16, Keim said the Cardinals were shocked.
Adding Collins pushes 2020 first-round pick Isaiah Simmons to outside linebacker. The eighth overall pick in last year’s draft, Simmons struggled to adapt from a hybrid role at Clemson. With the Tigers, the 225-pounder played more safety and slot cornerback than linebacker.
Moving him outside, Keim said, allows his playmaking instincts and natural athleticism to take over.
–Field Level Media