Formerly with the Patriots and Saints, Hicks joined the Bears in March 2016 on a two-year pact totaling $10MM. That contract has been a steal thus far for the Bears, with whom Hicks played like one of the NFL’s premier defensive linemen last season. Hicks tied a career high with 16 starts, led Bears defensive linemen in snaps (930) and piled up 54 tackles, seven sacks and two forced fumbles. Additionally, the 27-year-old ranked 15th among Pro Football Focus’ 127 qualified interior D-linemen in overall performance.
Given both Hicks’ showing last season and the deals given out to similarly productive players in recent years, it’s no surprise that he’s looking to double his annual income. As PFR suggested earlier this month, the contracts Giants nose tackle Damon Harrison (five years, $46.25MM, including $24MM guaranteed) and Packers DT Mike Daniels (four years, $42MM, including $12MM guaranteed) signed over the past couple years are among those that look like reasonable benchmarks for Hicks.
Without a new deal by next year, the Bears could theoretically place the franchise tag on Hicks, but the $17MM cost would be far higher than his current asking price. With that in mind, it would seemingly behoove general manager Ryan Pace to get to work on extending one of his key defensive contributors. Hicks, for his part, isn’t looking to leave Chicago.
“I just enjoy my time here and I’m completely open to ending my career here,” he told Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com and other reporters Wednesday.
It may help Hicks’ cause that Pace has long had an affinity for the defender, having been part of two front offices that have acquired him. When Hicks entered the NFL as a third-round pick of the Saints in 2012, Pace was their director of professional scouting.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.