After beginning the 2022 season with the hopes of receiving a contract extension, Hicks’ season ended in controversy due to frustration with the coaching staff.
One acquisition that former Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace should be applauded for was the signing of defensive end Akiem Hicks after the 2015 season. Since signing with the Bears, not only has Hicks become a fixture on their defensive line but the veteran has also emerged as a leader within the locker room.
In his 6 seasons with the Bears, Hicks has compiled 31 sacks, 88 quarterback hits, and 73 tackles for loss. Given the success that Hicks has had with the Bears, the defensive end was hopeful to negotiate a new contract with the team prior to the start of the 2021 season. Hicks went as far as to invite his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, to training camp but negotiations between the two sides never reached anything of substance.
Hicks played out the 2021 season on the final year of his contract and it reached a controversial end. According to a report from Adam Jahns of The Athletic, Hicks had a heated altercation with a member of the Bears’ coaching staff after the team’s Week 18 victory against the New York Giants. Furthermore, Hicks was not present at Halas Hall during the the Bears’ final week of the regular season and former head coach Matt Nagy omitted his name when referencing the team’s defensive leaders.
When healthy, there is no question that Hicks is a menace on the defensive line. If the Bears are planning on contending in 2022, then they will need to keep their defense in tact. In order for that to be case, the Bears’ new regime should look to mend the fence with the veteran.