Chicago Bears: How an Akiem Hicks extension can help the offensive line

Chicago Bears - Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Akiem Hicks (Chicago Bears)
Akiem Hicks-Chicago Bears (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bears could find some extra cash with an Akiem Hicks extension

The last time the Chicago Bears gave Akiem Hicks a contract extension, he rewarded them with two more elite seasons. He followed up his 2016 performance with yet another career year in sacks (8.5), solo tackles (39) and tackles-for-loss (15). Hicks backed that up in 2018 too with another All-Pro performance. Hicks didn’t have a career year but still finished with 7.5 sacks, 41 solo tackles and 12 tackles for loss.

Unfortunately, in 2019 and 2020, Hicks was plagued with injuries. He only played in five games in 2019 and despite playing 15 in 2020, he battled minor injuries that affected his performance. With Hicks turning 32 years old in November, could his age be a problem too though? Absolutely. Not many defensive linemen continue to thrive at his age. There are exceptions though and I think Hicks has earned an opportunity to prove himself for the right price.

Taking his past performance, his injuries the last two years and his age into consideration, Ryan Pace and the Chicago Bears should offer Hicks a two-year extension worth $15 million dollars. The team can give him a guaranteed $10 million and even incentivize the contract giving Hicks the opportunity to earn up to $20 million. This is the absolute most Hicks should receive in my opinion. This is between $7.5 and $10 million per year in AAV.

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The team should also have an out after the 2022 season. What this extension means for 2021 is that Pace can move money around allowing him to free up some additional salary cap room. With a few extra million at his disposal and just over $5 million in cap space left, the team can sign a free agent offensive tackle such as Russell Okung, Ricky Wagner or maybe a training camp casualty from another team.

We all know that the team needs to do something about the offensive line or this 2021 season will not go well and Andy Dalton and/or Justin Fields could get hurt.