Free agent offensive lineman Artis Hicks agrees to deal with Redskins

Running back Willie Parker, shown here being taken down by DeAngelo Hall last August, is known for his strong work ethic.
Running back Willie Parker, shown here being taken down by DeAngelo Hall last August, is known for his strong work ethic. (By John Mcdonnell/the Washington Post)
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Sunday, March 7, 2010

OL Hicks agrees to three-year deal

The Redskins on Saturday took a step toward addressing their major problems along the offensive line, signing former Minnesota Vikings guard-tackle Artis Hicks to a three-year contract.

Hicks, a versatile lineman who spent the past four seasons with Minnesota, received about $3 million in guaranteed money as part of a deal that could be worth $9 million, according to a league source. The Redskins did not disclose terms of the deal.

Hicks, 31, is the first unrestricted free agent from another team to have reached an agreement with the Redskins. The team expressed interest in the eight-year veteran, listed at 6 feet 4, 335 pounds, because of his experience and versatility. Hicks, who began his career with the Philadelphia Eagles, has started 58 games.

While serving as the primary backup at guard and tackle for the Vikings last season, Hicks appeared in every game and started twice at right guard and once at right tackle. He is expected to compete for the starting spot at right guard.

"That's what they've mentioned," said Hicks's agent, JR Rickert. "He hasn't been guaranteed anything. He's being brought in to compete on the offensive line. But they've talked about right guard."

The Redskins had a revolving door at the position last season. Longtime right guard Randy Thomas suffered a season-ending triceps injury in the second game against the St. Louis Rams. The team then turned to second-year player Chad Rinehart, who struggled on run-blocking, prompting the coaching staff to demote Rinehart after two starts in favor of Will Montgomery. Rinehart later reclaimed a spot with the first-team before fracturing his right leg in a loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

Rookie offensive lineman Edwin Williams also started at the position, as did converted veteran tackle Mike Williams. The Redskins this week re-signed Mike Williams, who provided a physical presence at the position, and he could be Hicks's main competition to start at right guard.

Contrary to reports, the Redskins have not reached an agreement with unrestricted free agent offensive lineman Tony Pashos, according to his agent, Rick Smith. Pashos was on his way to visit Cleveland next, the agent said.

Parker to visit

The Redskins need to reload their backfield and one of the top candidates appears to be Pittsburgh running back Willie Parker. Parker will pay a visit to Redskins Park next week, according to a league source. The news was first reported by KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh.

Parker, a 29-year-old unrestricted free agent, appeared in 14 games last season for the Steelers and finished with 389 yards on 98 carries, the lowest totals since his rookie season. Parker started Pittsburgh's first three games last year, then missed a couple of games due to injury and, when he was healthy enough to return, he'd lost his starting job to Rashard Mendenhall.

Parker, a two-time Pro Bowler who's known for his speed, is not far removed from years in which he was one of the AFC's more productive backs. Parker topped 1,000 yards from 2005-07 and still had 791 yards in 2008, a season in which he missed five games due to injury.

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