Chicago Bears: 5 Players who have let the team down most in 2021

Chicago Bears - Syndication: The Enquirer
Chicago Bears - Syndication: The Enquirer /
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Chicago Bears, Bilal Nichols
Chicago Bears – Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

Bilal Nichols has not lived up to his 2020 season

Typically a player will have a great year on a contract year. That does not seem to be the case for Bilal Nichols. Nichols had a solid rookie year in 2018. He finished the season with three sacks and 10 pressures. He also ended the year with 28 combined (20 solos) tackles, including five tackles for loss. He did this despite only seeing 36% of the defensive snaps.

In 2019, Nichols fell off drastically though. He only had four quarterback pressures and never sacked the quarterback despite seeing his snap count increase to 52%. Nichols started 12 games this year compared to only six in his rookie season too. He finished with only one less combine tackle, but only 15 were solos and one was a tackle for loss.

Then, in 2020, Nichols had his breakout year. In fact, if he was playing as well this year, I’d think he gets a contract extension as his contract expires at the end of the season. However, with his current level of play, I’m not confident he sees one. Last year, Nichols finished with 40 combined tackles (16 solos) and seven tackles for loss. He had five sacks and 16 quarterback pressures. He also started all 16 games and saw a 58% snap percentage.

Well, this year, it has not been great. He leads the defensive linemen in combined tackles (29) and is on pace for similar tackle numbers to his breakout year last year. That said, he’s seeing 64% of the defensive snaps and has been less productive. He has two sacks on the year but only three quarterback pressures. The positives are that he has four tackles for loss and no missed tackles, but this is not enough from a player many thought would take the next step forward in his career. Now, I’m not so sure that he’s in a Bears uniform next season.