NFL rumors have been swirling around Akiem Hicks. For much of the season, people knew that he was set to become a free agent. Since he has improved tremendously, the belief was that he was going to be leaving the New England Patriots. After all, Hicks only played a season for Bill Belichick, so there wasn’t a lot of loyalty towards the team. According to Fox Sports, Akiem will be jumping from the AFC to the NFC and signing with the Chicago Bears on a two year deal.
Akiem Hicks does have some loyalty towards Ryan Pace. The Chicago Bears general manager worked in the front office for the New Orleans Saints when they selected Hicks in third round of the NFL Draft in 2012. That bond made it easier for the Bears to pry the California native away from the New England Patriots. There’s a good amount of free agent signings in the National Football League that are influenced by the relationship between players, coaches and executives.
Akiem Hicks granted a visit with the Detroit Lions out of loyalty. Their new general manager, Bob Quinn, was an executive with the New England Patriots last season. He developed a relationship with Hicks. Quinn got to see Akiem on a daily basis and heard what Bill Belichick and the Patriots coaching staff felt about the 6’5″, 325 pound defensive end. Unfortunately for the Lions, the relationship between Quinn and Hicks wasn’t strong enough for him to bypass the Chicago Bears offer.
Traditional formations aren’t always used by the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick loves to be creative and confuse opposing NFL teams. Akiem Hicks, however, mostly played on the interior of the sometimes unorthodox defensive line. With the Chicago Bears, Hicks will play a more traditional defensive end in a 3-4 front. Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio generally prefers his defensive end to occupy the offensive linemen so that the linebackers are free to make big plays.
Akiem Hicks was drafted by the New Orleans Saints and traded for by the New England Patriots, so he never got a chance to choose where in the NFL he wanted to play. He got that chance this week, and Hicks has chosen the Chicago Bears.
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