Akiem Hicks

Bears’ Allen Robinson, Akiem Hicks Leaving In Free Agency?

2022 will be an important season for the Bears, with Matt Eberflus and Ryan Poles taking over as head coach and general manager, respectively. It will also be the first full year of Justin Fields being the undisputed starting quarterback. However, as Adam Jahns of The Athletic writes, they could very well find themselves without Pro Bowlers Allen Robinson and Akiem Hicks

Poles’ stated goal to “be selective in free agency” might not include Robinson or Hicks. The former has made it clear that he was not a fan of ex-HC Matt Nagy in particular, and of the offensive direction of the team more generally. The 28-year-old posted 38 catches for 410 yards and one touchdown last season, a far cry from his 1,100-plus yard seasons in the two previous campaigns.

Robinson signed his franchise tender last year, with many feeling it may be his final season in the Windy City. As Jahns writes, “aligning with a veteran quarterback is arguably in his best interests”, either as part of a long-term deal closer to the $14MM per year he originally agreed to in Chicago, or on a shorter pact to prove he can still play at an elite level.

As for Hicks, frustrations with the franchise could again be a deciding factor in his plans. As Jahns notes, even tough nearly the entire defensive staff has been replaced, the 32-year-old could look elsewhere on the open market – a stark turnaround from preseason reports that he was looking to stay in Chicago. With injuries becoming a concern in recent years, Hicks is still amongst the most disruptive interior linemen in the league, recording seven total sacks in the last two seasons. However, Jahns writes, “Hicks seemed to sense that his time was ending with the Bears” towards the end of the regular season. Regardless of where he ends up, Hicks will likely not be able to match the $12MM annual average he was making on his soon-to-be expired contract.

In the case of both players, Jahns predicts that they will leave in free agency, leaving the Bears to focus on other priorities, such as offensive linemen James Daniels. If Robinson and Hicks do depart, they will leave Chicago with plenty of cap space to work with, but also a significant number of additions needing to be made to rebound from 2021’s disappointing performance.

NFL COVID List Updates: 12/23/21

We’ve compiled a list of players who were placed or activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list today. In some instances, players activated from the list remain on IR:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Football Team

West Rumors: Broncos, Cards, Hicks, Hawks

The Bears briefly entertained the prospect of trading standout defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, but they reconsidered and brought the former All-Pro back for his sixth season in Chicago. Shortly after free agency began, the Bears gave Hicks permission to find a trade partner. Nothing materialized, but the Chargers were monitoring this situation through the preseason, according to ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler (ESPN+ link). Hicks, 31, has a history with Bolts HC Brandon Staley, who was on the Bears’ defensive staff — as outside linebackers coach — under Vic Fangio from 2017-18. The 11th-year veteran’s contract expires at season’s end. Should the Bears falter against a tough October schedule, Hicks could be a name to watch as the Nov. 2 trade deadline approaches. The $7MM-plus left on his 2021 salary would be a difficult accommodation for most teams, but that number will drop closer to $5MM by the deadline. A groin injury sidelined Hicks in Week 5, but he remains on the Bears’ active roster.

Here is the latest from the West divisions:

  • Staying on the trade front, the Broncos received inquiries on their two contract-year corners — Kyle Fuller and Bryce Callahan — along with Ronald Darby. The veteran defenders came up in talks leading up to the season, but new Denver GM George Paton set a fairly high asking price. The Broncos sought a third- or fourth-round pick in a deal for one of their vets, Fowler adds, scuttling talks. The Saints made a strong push for Fuller, which came months after New Orleans’ aggressive pursuit of Denver’s No. 9 overall pick — which was used to take Patrick Surtain II. While Denver has made multiple deadline deals in recent years, involving receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, it would likely take a tumble out of contention for the team to deal from its corner surplus.
  • The Cardinals are likely to be without Chandler Jones as they attempt to move their unbeaten run to 6-0. While vaccinated players who test positive for COVID-19 can return after two negative tests 24 hours apart, Kliff Kingsbury said Jones is experiencing symptoms and that it would be “a stretch” for him to play against the Browns, via SI.com’s Howard Balzer (on Twitter). Jones is vaccinated. News of the veteran pass rusher’s positive test circulated Tuesday, creating a narrow window for him to recover in time.
  • Arizona will also be without center Rodney Hudson. The acclaimed O-lineman is battling a rib injury, and Kingsbury declared him out Wednesday. Seventh-year pro Max Garcia will step in for the Cards’ Pro Bowl snapper.
  • Blake Bortles auditioned for the Seahawks on Tuesday, but Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times notes they are not expected to sign him (Twitter link). Seattle instead re-signed Danny Etling, who was with the team from August 2020 to August of ’21. Etling is currently on the Seahawks’ practice squad. Bortles has not been able to land a steady gig since the 2019 season, when he backed up Jared Goff with the Rams.
  • Pete Carroll said Tre Flowers did not request to be waived, Condotta adds (via Twitter). The Flowers transaction went through Wednesday, so a claim would surface by Thursday afternoon — if a team is to claim the fourth-year cornerback. The Seahawks have used former second-round pick Sidney Jones in Flowers’ place in the past two games.

Akiem Hicks Seeking Bears Extension

Akiem Hicks‘ 2016 Chicago arrival helped the Bears form one of the NFL’s best defenses over the past five years, but the veteran defensive lineman’s contract is up after this season. The Pro Bowler is aiming to extend his Windy City tenure.

The 11th-year veteran wants to sign a second Bears extension in order to finish his career in Chicago, according to his agent. Hicks’ agent, Drew Rosenhaus, was in Chicago on Thursday advocating for his client, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. This extension hope comes not long after Hicks popped up in trade rumors.

After missing most of the 2019 season, Hicks bounced back and played in 15 games last year. While the sack total (3.5) did not match his three previous full seasons, which each featured seven-plus sacks, Hicks tallied a career-high 21 quarterback hits for a Bears team that rode its No. 8-ranked DVOA defense back to the playoffs. The 31-year-old D-lineman is set to earn $10.4MM in base salary, closing out the final season of the four-year, $48MM extension he agreed to in 2017.

It looked for a bit like the Bears were planning to move on from Hicks, whom they gave permission to seek a trade in March. The team made Kyle Fuller a surprise cap casualty that week, but shortly after the trade rumor surfaced, the Bears regrouped and held onto Hicks. The Bears do not have much invested at defensive end beyond Hicks, so plans will need to be made for the future soon — regardless of Hicks’ post-2021 status with the team.

Bears Likely To Keep Akiem Hicks?

In an eventful week for the Bears, Akiem Hicks emerged on the trade block. The standout defensive lineman is entering the final year of his contract. However, a trade may not end up materializing.

The Bears now look likely to keep Hicks for the 2021 season, according to the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs (on Twitter). Hicks is due a $10.4MM salary next season.

The former All-Pro interior defender is entering the final season of his four-year, $48MM contract. The interior defender market has moved significantly since Hicks signed that deal in September 2017. Most notably, Leonard Williams is now attached to a three-year, $63MM pact. Hicks may push for an extension, with Biggs previously noting his contract was a key matter in a potential trade. As of now, an extension does not appear to be in the cards.

Keeping Hicks would allow the Bears some stability on a defense that just lost top cornerback Kyle Fuller, who officially became a cap casualty Saturday. Hicks has been with the Bears since signing a two-year, $10MM contract in 2016. While Hicks missed most of the 2019 season due to injury, he returned to play 15 games last season. He will turn 32 later this year.

Bears Give DL Akiem Hicks Permission To Seek Trade

After releasing Kyle Fuller earlier tonight, the Bears are now looking to move on from another veteran defender. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes that the Bears have given defensive lineman Akiem Hicks permission to seek a trade.

Hicks is entering the final year of a four-year, $48MM extension he signed with Chicago in 2017. The 31-year-old is set to earn $10.MM in 2021, and Biggs writes that the defensive lineman would want a “substantial raise” if he’s to be traded. Biggs also notes that the requested extension is “unlikely” to materialize.

Hicks spent the first three-plus seasons of his career with the Saints before getting traded to the Patriots in 2015. He joined the Bears on a two-year deal the following offseason, and he quickly established himself as a starter on Chicago’s defensive line. Hicks compiled 23 sacks for the Bears between the 2016 and 2018 seasons, earning a Pro Bowl nod during that latter campaign.

The veteran was limited to only five games in 2019 after suffering an elbow injury, but he managed to start all 15 of his appearances in 2020. He ultimately finished the campaign having collected 49 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and 21 QB hits.

Following the signings of quarterback Andy Dalton and offensive lineman Germain Ifedi (and Allen Robinson‘s decision to opt for the franchise tender), the Bears have been looking for ways to carve out cap space. The team moved on from former All-Pro cornerback Kyle Fuller earlier today.

Bears Activate DL Akiem Hicks

The Bears will bring back one of their top players for Week 15’s pivotal game against the Packers. Akiem Hicks is officially back on Chicago’s 53-man roster after spending eight weeks on IR.

Hicks has not played since the Bears’ Week 5 game, but the team did not place the Pro Bowl defensive end on IR until before its Week 7 contest. To make room on their 53-man roster, the Bears placed tight end Ben Braunecker on IR. Braunecker’s season will end because of a concussion.

Despite the Bears sitting at 4-6 in a high-caliber NFC playoff race in mid-November, Matt Nagy refused to shut down Hicks. The fourth-year Bear returned to practice less than two weeks ago and is set to return to his starting role — for a 7-6 Bears team — Sunday.

A former Saints third-round pick who’s emerged as one of the game’s top interior defensive linemen, Hicks was a key reason for the Bears’ defensive ascent last season. He registered at least seven sacks in each of the past three seasons, combining for 36 tackles for loss in that span as well. The 30-year-old lineman will obviously not run that streak to four but will stand to help the Bears in what is essentially a must-win game in Green Bay.

Bears Designate Akiem Hicks For Return

The Bears have designated Akiem Hicks for return from injured reserve, per a club announcement. Per league rules, the move will allow the defensive tackle to return sometime after the Bears’ Thursday night game against the Cowboys.

Hicks suited up and practiced on Sunday, for the first time since early October. The veteran hasn’t been on the field since suffering an elbow injury in London against the Raiders.

The Pro Bowl defensive tackle is a key cog in Chicago’s elite defense. Last year, he notched 7.5 sacks, a strong follow-up to his career high of 8.5 quarterback takedowns in 2017.

Hicks signed a four year, $48MM extension with the Bears in September of 2017, a deal that included $22MM fully guaranteed at signing. Next year, he’s slated to count for an $11.8MM cap hit, but the Bears could also cut him to save $8.8MM against $3MM in dead money.

At 6-6, the Bears are fighting to hold on to their paper-thin playoff hopes. At minimum, Hicks can solidify his place on the roster with a strong finish to the year. He’ll turn 31 in November of 2020, a year in which he’s slated to count for nearly 6% of the team’s total cap room.

Bears Place DT Akiem Hicks On IR

The Bears have placed defensive tackle Akiem Hicks on injured reserve, according to a team announcement. Hicks has been soliciting medical opinions in recent days and, apparently, he’s been advised to stay off of the field.

This will not be a season-ender like Kyle Long’s injury, at least the Bears do not believe it will be. They are planning to make the impact defensive lineman one of their IR-return players later this season, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Hicks is not expected to need surgery.

Hicks, who made the Pro Bowl last year, is a key cog in Chicago’s elite defense. Last year, he notched 7.5 sacks, a strong follow-up to his career high of 8.5 quarterback takedowns in 2017.

There was some hope that the team’s Week 6 bye would give Hicks some time to recover and return to action quickly. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The Bears will look to rebound from their London loss to the Raiders on Sunday against the Saints without one of their best players.

Hicks signed a four year, $48MM extension with the Bears in September of 2017, a deal that included $22MM fully guaranteed at signing. Next year, he’s slated to count for an $11.8MM cap hit.

Injury Updates: Rudolph, Bausby, Hicks, Gallman, Sproles

Some key injuries around the league from today’s action:

  • There was a scary scene in Pittsburgh, when Mason Rudolph was knocked unconscious by a hit from Ravens safety Earl Thomas. Rudolph was knocked out cold, and was visibly disoriented even after waking up. He was diagnosed with a concussion, and taken to a local hospital as a precaution. Fortunately, Rudolph was cleared to go home from the hospital and is “doing well,” a source told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Undrafted rookie Devlin Hodges took over for Rudolph, and he looked surprisingly competent. The Samford product, recently signed from the practice squad after Ben Roethlisberger‘s injury, will start against the Chargers next week if Rudolph can’t go.
  • Speaking of scary injuries, Broncos cornerback De’Vante Bausby suffered one as well. Bausby was taken to a hospital, and Denver initially said they were waiting on MRI results for his “head and neck area before determining whether it’s safe for him to fly home or stay a night for observation,” according to a tweet from Mike Klis of Denver 9 News. Klis notes that head coach Vic Fangio said he was told Bausby “cleared the serious stage,” but wouldn’t say much more. Fortunately, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic later tweeted that Bausby had been released from the hospital and would make the flight back to Denver with the team. Broncos spokesman Patrick Smyth tweeted that Bausby was diagnosed with a cervical sprain. Hopefully everything turns out alright for the former AAF star, who was recently inserted into the starting lineup.
  • The Bears lost as big favorites to the Raiders in London, and their day got even worse. Star defensive lineman Akiem Hicks hurt his elbow, and it doesn’t look good. Speaking after the game, head coach Matt Nagy didn’t sound overly optimistic. “I don’t think it is, but I don’t – again, I’ll get into more and find out more details,” Nagy said, when asked if the injury was season-ending, via Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times. Hicks made the Pro Bowl last year, and is a key cog in Chicago’s elite defense. Fortunately they have their bye in Week 6, but it sounds like Hicks is going to miss some time.
  • The Giants’ running back situation just got even more dire. Of course, they were missing workhorse Saquon Barkley, who is sidelined with an ankle injury. Wayne Gallman took over for Barkley as their lead back, and he was quickly ruled out with a concussion during their Week 5 loss to the Vikings. New York plays on Thursday Night Football against the Patriots this week, so Gallman will have a tough time getting cleared in just a few days. There’s been some talk Barkley could return for that game, although that still seems unlikely. Rookie quarterback Daniel Jones will be looking to pull off a shorthanded miracle.
  • Eagles running back Darren Sproles reached a new milestone in his illustrious career, but then got nicked up shortly after. During Philly’s win over the Jets Sproles moved into fifth place on the all-time all purpose yards list, but then left the game with a quad injury. Sproles hasn’t been playing too big of a role so far this season as the Eagles look to keep the 36-year-old fresh, but this is still something to monitor. There was no word on the severity right away.