The Saints have traded defensive end Akiem Hicks to the Patriots in exchange for Michael Hoomanawanui, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Hicks, who was a third-round pick in 2012, will bolster the Patriots' defensive line depth, but with just two tackles in two games this season, he's off the fantasy radar.
Perhaps it's a matter of semantics, but Saints starting defensive end Akiem Hicks claims he was benched Sunday against Tampa Bay and Sean Peyton disagrees. "I got benched ... going into the third (quarter)," Hicks told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Hicks had good reason to believe so after playing only 28 snaps in the game. But Payton didn't see it that way. "It wasn't benched," Payton said. "I told him, hey, we're going to play some other guys here. And that's what we did." The coach added that the team has been rotating defensive linemen throughout the preseason and into the regular season.
The Saints have placed running back Pierre Thomas and defensive end Akiem Hicks on injured reserve and promoted Jerry Franklin and Brandon Coleman from their practice squad. Thomas played a limited role in Week 16 against the Falcons, catching just two passes for 24 yards, before injuring his ribs and leaving the game. He finishes the year with 45 carries for 222 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
Saints tackle Terron Armstead (neck), defensive end Akiem Hicks (ankle) and safety Jamarca Sanford (hamstring) were unable to practice Friday and were all ruled questionable for Sunday's game against Atlanta. New Orleans remains a 6 1/2-point favorite at home against the Falcons.
The Saints' top pass rusher, outside linebacker Junior Galette, is active for Monday's game at Chicago after being listed as questionable with a neck injury. Galette leads the team with seven sacks. Also suiting up are left tackle Terron Armstead (neck), linebacker David Hawthorne (hip), defensive end Akiem Hicks (ankle) and cornerback Keenan Lewis (illness).