Not much fuss was made when Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace plucked defensive end Akiem Hicks off the free agent market last offseason.
Hicks and the Bears agreed to a modest two-year deal worth $10 million in March 2016 – which turned out to be an open market steal, as Hicks turned heads in his first season with the Bears. Hicks set career highs in sacks and tackles, while also starting 16 games for the first time since 2013.
With that in mind, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes that Hicks is primed for another big year. And thus, lined up for a big payday in free agency or through a contract extension with the Bears. But first, Hicks seeks representation. Hicks told the Tribune that he has cut ties with Frank Murtha, who was his agent when he signed his contract with the Bears and aided him on his journey to the NFL. In what was compared favorably to a “speed dating” type of process, Hicks is in search of the perfect fit to lead him into his next contractual journey.
As for the chances he returns to the Bears on an extension, Hicks shared his thoughts on potentially staying:
“Would I sign back in Chicago? Hell, yeah. In a heartbeat. My mom loves this city. I love this city,” Hicks told the Tribune. “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.”
Hicks will play in his age 28 season in 2017, making him young enough to be a part of this defensive core when it will be competitive again. However, another stellar season in Chicago could send Hicks’ price through the roof on the open market.
I imagine once Hicks weeds through his suitors, he will sit down with the Bears and explore a potential extension. If not, Hicks will perform in a contract year with many millions potentially awaiting him next offseason.