Chicago Bears: 4 moves Ryan Pace must make to finalize a playoff roster

Chicago Bears - Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /
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Chicago Bears, Akiem Hicks
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The Chicago Bears should extend Akiem Hicks too

The Chicago Bears defense is starting to get a little long in the tooth. One of those players getting up there in age is Akiem Hicks. Hicks will be 32 years old this season and is coming off a down year after an injury-riddled 2019 season. His market value is not going to be as high as he expects.

With players like Justin Houston and Everson Griffin still on the open market, now is the time for Ryan Pace to convince Akiem Hicks to sign a short-term extension. Right now, Hicks is in the final year of his contract. He is making and costing the Chicago Bears $12 million dollars this season. However, just like the Allen Robinson situation, the Chicago Bears should look to extend Hicks and free up some salary cap space.

In this case, I am hopeful the team can convince Hicks to sign a two-year extension, keeping him on the team through the 2023 season. At that point, Hicks will be 34 years old by the time the season ends. The extension should be in the realm of two-years for an additional $15 million. With the extension, Ryan Pace and the Chicago Bears can look to free up more space for 2021 and push some of Hicks’ current salary into the next two seasons.

There is not as much wiggle room on this one as the team will not want to fully backload a 31-year-old’s contract. Ryan Pace should instead look to shift only a few million dollars. With the extension to Robinson and the extension to Hicks, the Chicago Bears could realistically have $12 to $15 million dollars to throw around this offseason without cutting an additional player.