Chicago Bears: Trading Kyle Fuller makes more sense than Akiem Hicks

Chicago Bears (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Bears, Akiem Hicks
Chicago Bears – Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /

Akiem Hicks is irreplaceable for the Chicago Bears defense

Yes, the return of Eddie Goldman will upgrade their run defense. However, even with his return, removing Hicks from the equation likely makes the Chicago Bears a very good run-stopping defense but will also mean they will no longer be an elite run-stopping defense. This in turn makes it much less likely they can once again become an overall elite defense.

Akiem also plays a key role in the Bears pass rush. He is very good at being stout in the middle of the defensive line so that quarterbacks cannot easily step up in the pocket. He also creates more pressures, hits and sacks from an interior position on the defensive line than most others who play a similar position.

Defensive linemen that have his strength, size and short-area quickness in the pass rush are rare. Eddie Goldman has similar traits but is not as good in the pass rush as is Akiem Hicks. With Goldman and Hicks playing side-by-side it is virtually impossible for teams to be effective running up the middle against the Bears. This is true even when the Bears play against a top offensive line.

Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy are looking at a season where their jobs are on the line. So it is very likely, they believe this offseason is not the time for the Bears to try and replace the irreplaceable Akiem Hicks.

Hicks is irreplaceable because, as mentioned, he is an interior lineman who has a rare combination of run-stop and pass-rush skills. Here is a list of his traits and skills. Akiem the Dream is smart, has a very high motor, exceptional strength and size as well as being both an inspirational and vocal leader on the Chicago Bears defense. This all makes him way too valuable to be considered as a 2021 salary cap casualty.