Chicago Bears Solidify Defense By Locking Up Akiem Hicks Long Term

Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks is set to be with the Chicago Bears for a long time. On the day before Chicago Bears face the Atlanta Falcons, they take a huge step in solidifying their defensive front-seven.

Adam Schefter of ESPN is reporting that the Chicago Bears have signed Akiem Hicks to a long-term extension. The full details of the deal that the Bears have handed Hicks have not been released; however, it is being cited that the deal is a four-year extension.

The financial terms on the extension the Chicago Bears are signing Akiem Hicks to is rumored to be $48 million. Of that amount, somewhere around $30 million is considered as guaranteed money. It is a figure that Hicks has worked hard to earn.

“I think you’re always betting on yourself. I think you’re always saying to yourself, man, I’m going to do really good this year. I’m going to get a million sacks, I’m going to get a million tackles and I’m unstoppable. That’s the way you approach every year and I think if you come back from that and you start putting restrictions on yourself then you’re not going to get what you ultimately want.”

Akiem Hicks’ new Bears contract extension represents a huge pay raise in comparison to his initial deal which landed him in Chicago one season ago.

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The Chicago Bears added Akiem Hicks (courtesy of the NFL website) in the 2016 offseason. Hicks signed a two-year, $10 million agreement. Upon Hicks’ addition, the Bears were filled with high hopes.

The Chicago Bears spent much of last offseason seeking players who were fits in a 3-4 defensive scheme. By signing Akiem Hicks, the Bears were hoping to land a defensive lineman adept at playing in the five-technique.

The five-technique is typically the position where a player would line up on the outside of the defensive line, with the intentions of plugging a gap. The Chicago Bears saw some untapped potential in Akiem Hicks. It is a gamble that has paid off for the Bears. It also worked out for Hicks.

Akiem Hicks had his best NFL season with the Chicago Bears last season when he finished with 71 tackles. Of Hicks’ stops, seven of them were sacks. It was a season the Bears wanted to have from the former third-round pick of the New Orleans Saints.

Prior to the Chicago Bears signing Akiem Hicks, he was with the New England Patriots. Hicks’ potential was on full display with the Patriots. It carried over to his arrival at Bears’ training camp last summer.

Akiem Hicks backs up next to Eddie Goldman.
Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman are in position to give the Chicago Bears a strong defensive tandem. [Image by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]

The Bears were able to see Hicks’ rare ability to use quickness as an advantage, despite having a large frame. He was praised (courtesy of CSN Chicago) the moment the Bears began practicing with the team.

Akiem Hicks has quickly become a mainstay with the Chicago Bears’ defense. His ability to be able to stop the run and get to the opposing team’s quarterback has played a role in the Bears having one of the best front-seven units in the NFL.

Akiem Hicks is especially dangerous when he plays alongside Bears’ nose tackle Eddie Goldman. One of the biggest question marks for the Bears last season was their pass rush.

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Hicks has been credited for his seven sacks with the Bears, but he was also able to grab the attention of the opposing team’s offensive line. It freed up sacks for his Chicago Bears teammates. The trend is expected to continue this season, as the Bears are looking to be aggressive on defense.

By locking Akiem Hicks up long-term, the Chicago Bears have safely secured a key defensive player. The Bears first had to identify him as a potential mainstay.

Because Hicks had not fully established himself as a solid NFL contributor, the Bears did not invest heavily on him. Now that he has emerged as one of the better five-techniques in the NFL, it has led to a huge payday with the Chicago Bears.

[Featured Image by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]