Chiefs also release DE Hicks

Updated: May 2, 2007, 3:16 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Eric Hicks
Hicks
Ryan Sims
Sims

After five frustrating seasons and a big investment that produced little return, the Kansas City Chiefs finally gave up on defensive tackle Ryan Sims on Tuesday afternoon, trading the former first-round draft choice to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a future undisclosed draft choice.

The sixth overall player chosen in the 2002 draft, Sims was reflective of the difficult time the Chiefs have had in recent years at the defensive tackle position and clearly rates as one of the franchise's most notorious first-round blunders.

Kansas City also released nine-year defensive end Eric Hicks on Tuesday, ending a tenure that began when the team signed him as an undrafted college free agent in 1998.

The departure of Sims, 26, was not unexpected, given his lack of production during his time in Kansas City and the fact the Chiefs used two first-day picks on Saturday in the draft to bolster the tackle position. Had the Chiefs not found a trade partner for Sims, with the Bucs likely sacrificing only a late-round pick for the former North Carolina standout, he probably would have been released.

In five seasons, Sims registered only 149 tackles, five sacks, 36 quarterback pressures, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. He appeared in 59 games and started 36 contests. His best season was in 2003, when he started in all 16 games and posted 83 tackles along with three sacks.

Sims' career with the Chiefs got off to a rocky start when he missed considerable time while his rookie contract was being negotiated. That signaled the start of a stint in Kansas City in which Sims was a notable underachiever. It remains to be seen if Bucs defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin can push the right buttons and motivate Sims to play to his potential.

The Bucs have some recent success in that regard, resuscitating the career of former Minnesota first-round defensive tackle Chris Hovan.

Over the weekend the Chiefs added tackles Turk McBride of Tennessee in the second round and North Carolina State's Tank Tyler in the third, and those additions essentially sealed Sims' fate with the club. Kansas City also signed veteran Alfonso Boone, formerly of the Chicago Bears, as an unrestricted free agent earlier in the spring.

The two starting tackles from last season, Ron Edwards and James Reed, also re-signed with the Chiefs last month after first testing the unrestricted free-agent market.

In terms of production and making the most of his physical tools, Hicks was the antithesis of Sims but was coming off a 2006 season in which he had only seven tackles.

A former Maryland star, Hicks, 30, beat the odds in 1998 by earning a roster spot as an undrafted player and then maximized his modest abilities for nine seasons. He appeared in 128 games, including 104 as a starter, and rang up 574 tackles, 44½ sacks, nine forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries.

Hicks had three seasons remaining on his contract. He is now an unrestricted free agent and able to sign with another team.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.