How is it that Akiem Hicks is not the number one free agent? Hicks was originally brought in on a two-year deal worth $10 million dollars. His performance on the field led to a four-year extension worth $48 million. He has been a dominant force for the Bears up front until last year where he struggled with multiple injuries.
Over the first three years, Hicks averaged nearly eight sacks per season. He was a beast on the defensive line and that frees up Khalil Mack to wreak havoc as well. Hicks also plays well against the run. During his first three years, he averaged 40 solo tackles and 13 tackles for loss. He is the heart and soul of the Chicago Bears defensive line.
He might even be the most important player on the defense. As great as Khalil Mack is, we saw last season how teams can double and triple him out of the picture. Mack recorded less than 10 sacks for the first time since his rookie season. This is not something we should expect to happen again in 2020.
This defense was still a top-10 defense in 2019 and it has only gotten better. With the addition of Robert Quinn and a healthy Akiem Hicks, this team should have no problem pushing to lead the NFL in sacks this year. If you want to flip Hicks with the top free agent on this list, I would have no problem with it. I struggled to decide between the two also.