The first week of NFL free agency has been a whirlwind for Chicago Bears fans.
We have seen some big time signings around the league, and even within the NFC North, while the Bears have largely been overcome with negative headlines.
The Andy Dalton signing has most fans wondering what exactly the plan is in the mind of Ryan Pace, but beyond even the Dalton move, things are beginning to look as though they’re going south in a hurry.
Over the past few days, the big rumors have been in regards to cornerback Kyle Fuller and defensive tackle Akiem Hicks.
Just Saturday, the Bears finally made the move to cut Fuller in efforts to save $11 million against the cap. That move, in and of itself, has infuriated fans. It seems as though Pace is ready to blow this thing up, which makes us all wonder, has he been guaranteed job security?
Hicks, meanwhile, was reportedly on the trade block just days ago. As reported by Brad Biggs of The Chicago Tribune, Hicks was likely on his way out of Chicago.
Over the last two seasons, Hicks has struggled to stay healthy for an entire year. That’s been the only real knock on him, because when he’s on the field, he’s a menace to opposing offenses.
Still one of the best run-stopping tackles in the league, Hicks pairs his prowess in defense with his ability to disrupt opposing quarterbacks. He is the best of both worlds when looking at some of the best defensive linemen in the game today — also under-appreciated, I might add.
As fans have been preparing for life without both Fuller and Hicks, the Bears have been busy bringing in their supposed replacements. Earlier in the week, the Bears signed former Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Angelo Blackson, who would step into Hicks’ shoes immediately.
The Bears also signed former Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions cornerback Desmond Trufant to take the place of Fuller. The writing seemed to be on the wall for both players.
But, it appears as though Chicago will keep Hicks around after all.
Sources who said Akiem Hicks was available are now indicating he’s likely back with the #Bears. They have a major hole to fill at CB but would keep the front 7 of the defense in place. Certainly has been a fluid start to the new league year for the team.
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) March 20, 2021
The news of Hicks likely being back with the Bears is finally some positive news for the team this week. In fact, one could argue that the Bears’ defensive line is going to be a major strength if Hicks sticks around.
The pairing of Hicks, Eddie Goldman and Bilal Nichols creates a stout starting line. But, behind those two are both the newly-signed Blackson and Mario Edwards, whom the Bears re-signed on a multi-year deal.
Chicago’s front seven should be a strength if they can get anything at all out of Robert Quinn. Also, let’s hope Khalil Mack was indeed less than 100 percent last season and enters this year healthy. If so, then the Bears should possess one of the better front sevens in football in 2021.
This, of course, all depends on the Hicks factor, though. If he stays in Chicago, the front seven is a world better than if he were to leave.