A few months ago reports came out that the Chicago Bears might consider trading star defensive end Akiem Hicks. This was an unfortunate byproduct of the salary cap taking a plunge and the team needing money. In the end, they decided to move on from Kyle Fuller instead. Hicks stayed. There were no hard feelings. The 31-year old even said he’s hoping to sign a contract extension to finish his career in Chicago.
That remains uncertain. As does the idea of whether the Bears might still consider trading him. The deadline is still a few weeks away. If things go south in that span, they could look to unload some veterans for draft picks. Hicks won’t fetch anything huge but it seems there are interested teams out there. According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, former Bears assistant Brandon Staley seems keen on maybe bringing him out west to L.A.
“The Los Angeles Chargers monitored the Akiem Hicks situation in the preseason — coach Brandon Staley has Chicago ties from the Vic Fangio coaching tree. They’ve also had injuries up front. If Chicago tries to unload the defensive tackle by Nov. 2, teams would love to add his disruption to their lineups. The problem: Hicks’ $10.4 million salary is a nonstarter for many franchises.”
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) September 13, 2021
It makes some sense.
The Chargers have some cap space to work with. So they could handle Hicks’ contract more than most teams. More than anything, L.A. would likely love to get his value as a run defender. The Chargers defense is last in the NFL at stopping the run. They’ve allowed at least 186 yards in three of their five games this season. Hicks might be a strong interior pass rusher but he never gets enough credit for his ability to clog running lanes.
He’d be a significant upgrade over Jerry Tillery or Forrest Merrill. Would the Bears do it? As stated before, a lot of that depends on their record. At 3-2, they have no reason to intentionally weaken their defensive line when they are right in the thick of the playoff chase. Would that tune change if they lose their next three to Green Bay, Tampa Bay, and San Francisco?
Akiem Hicks may not get his ultimate wish
Part of the reason why? His health situation. Hicks didn’t miss a single game his first three years in Chicago. Since 2019 though, that has changed. He missed 11 games with an elbow injury that year, was hobbled by a hamstring issue last season, and now just missed the win over the Raiders with a groin issue. It’s hard not to wonder if his body is starting to break down. A byproduct of playing a physical position for almost a decade now.
Maybe he returns to form once he’s back. That would be great. Yet the Bears know they have to be careful. They already made the mistake of extending Danny Trevathan despite concerns about his age and somewhat erratic health. They’ve been paying for that move ever since. Are they really prepared to double down on Akiem Hicks? That doesn’t feel likely. Not given the overall strength of their defensive line and money being needed to extend younger guys like Roquan Smith.
Hicks would have to accept a team-friendly deal.
That doesn’t seem like something that is going to happen. Not when he will likely have alternatives open to him. The Chargers being one. Chicago bypassed their first chance to trade him back in the spring. It will be interesting to see if they try again in a few weeks.