The Chicago Bears didn’t have many playmakers on their team last season. Between the injuries and suspensions, and the general lack of talented depth, there just weren’t many big plays made in 2016. The roster isn’t completely devoid of talent however, because if you comb through it, you’ll find some quality football players. Seriously, take a look, there are a few...
One of those players that seem to be coming into his own is 27 year old defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, who probably could have been a Pro Bowler had the Bears won a few more games. As it was, it’s tough to give a three win team a handful of All Stars.
Hicks had 54 tackles, 7 sacks, 11 tackles for loss, 17 quarterback hits, 2 passes defended, 2 forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, and a blocked kick. You could stack those numbers up against most of his peers and he’d be near the top.
He started all 16 games in 2016, while playing in 86.5% of their defensive snaps and 18.5% of their special teams snaps. His 1,009 total snaps was 4th most on the team.
Hicks signed a two year deal last year, worth $10 million ($5 million guaranteed), and that’s looking like a bargain considering his play. But getting him signed to an extension is proving difficult, not because the two sides can’t come to an agreement, but because Hicks is currently without representation. Hicks told the Chicago Tribune that he and his agent parted ways about three months ago, and he’s in the process of finding new representation. He hopes to have that figured out before training camp starts next month.
Once he has an agent in place, I would think that Bears’ GM Ryan Pace would want to discuss an extension as soon as possible. Hicks could elect to play out his final year and try to cash in on the open market, but that’s taking a chance that he has an injury free 2017.
"I know it's not always the best way to think of it with this being a business, but I want to get what I deserve or get what I have earned," he said. "If I earned a new contract, that's what I earned. If I don't, that's the case. It's really not up to me. I get to put my stuff on the field and show them what I can do, but I can't make them go upstairs and sign me to a different piece of paper.”
The Bears could allow this season to unfold and wait to see how Hicks, and fellow d-lineman and new addition Jaye Howard, each perform, but why mess around when you have a good player? Lock up Hicks and if Howard has a good 2017, deal with that next offseason.
"Would I sign back in Chicago? Hell, yeah. In a heartbeat. My mom loves this city. I love this city. My mother was back there saying, 'Oh, baby, Chicago wants you? You going to go play for Chicago?' She loves it. She's from here. It's becoming home and I would love to continue playing here if the situation permits."
Staying in Chicago is something he’d like to do, so if there’s interest from the Bears, I really would like to see Hicks get a new deal.