Chicago Bears extend Akiem Hicks

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 18: Akiem Hicks
CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 18: Akiem Hicks /

The Chicago Bears announced their contract extension with defensive end Akiem Hicks to a four year deal.

With less than 24 hours until the Chicago Bears kicked off their 2017 season, they made a big move to extend one of their key defensive pieces for the foreseeable future.

Hicks is only 27 years old and was going to be a free agent next season. He has bounced around the league a bit, but it looks like he found a good fit in Chicago. He spent his first four seasons in New Orleans and spent a brief stint in New England. Over that span, he put up 9.5 sacks. In 2016 alone he put up seven sacks for the Chicago Bears.

It is real too, Hicks wins with precision and power and an ability to get into the backfield. A four-year deal is going to sign him up throughout his prime years in the NFL, and given the scheme fit and his play in it, the deal had to get done.

This deal comes an hour or so after the Pittsburgh Steelers signed defensive end Stephon Tuitt to a five-year deal at a similar annual value. Tuitt was not as productive as Hicks, but he is three years younger and is a home grown player from the Steelers draft. You have to wonder if the two were playing chicken with their negotiations, knowing that either could be potentially setting a market. That could explain why two players fully deserving of extensions began discussions the first day of training camp and did not finish them until moments before kick off.

Next: Keys to Week One Victory

Either way, this is a smart move for the Bears. They pin down a stud and a veteran on their line for the short future and their defense should be much improved in 2017.