Chicago Bears Free Agent Updated Wish List – Defensive Line

Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports
Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports /
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Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports /

Chicago Bears Updated Free Agent Wish List: D-Line

DE Akiem Hicks, Patriots – The rumors have been swirling around Hicks the last few days, with him supposedly skipping his visit with the Bears to sign with the Lions, then Hicks showing up late Friday night, taking a physical Saturday, and then postponing his visit with the Lions to stay an extra night in Chicago. Where is Hicks today? Who knows, but he supposedly has informed the Patriots that he’s not coming back which leads most to believe that his decision is down to the Bears or the Lions.

It’s an interesting choice between two rebuilding teams with different defensive styles. With the Bears Hicks would be an ideal fit at the 5-tech DE position and with his massive size (6’6, 324), elite power, and surprising quickness could set the edge against the run, occupy double teams, and provide occasional pass rush. Hicks also has the size and ability to move inside on passing downs or when the Bears shift to 4-man fronts. It is very similar to the role Hicks played with the Patriots last year when he had his breakout season after three inconsistent years with New Orleans, where he coincidentally was Pace’s first draft pick as the Saints Director of player personnel. By the end of his half-season in New England, Hicks was a well-rounded force grading out positively against both the run and pass according to PFF.

With the Lions in their 4-3 base defense, Hicks would primarily be a DT without the speed needed to play on the outside in a 4-3. Hicks lining up between DE Ziggy Ansah and DT Haloti Ngata has to be tempting (and scary to Bears fans), but after playing mostly the 5-tech DE position his whole career it would be an adjustment for Hicks. It’s rumored that the Lions are offering more money as well or at least they were as of yesterday.

Hicks combination of power, explosiveness, upside, and youth (25) seem to make him a perfect fit for the defense that Pace, Fox, and Fangio are trying to rebuild at arguably their greatest position need. The combination of Hicks, Goldman, Ego Ferguson, and most likely a high draft pick on the d-line could give DC Vic Fangio the talent necessary to build a dominant defensive line. On paper it seems like a great fit, but ultimately it will come down to which team Hicks would rather play for. If you would like to help Bears Pro Bowler Kyle Long recruit Hicks…

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