Akiem Hicks, Bears Agree to Reported 4-Year, $48 Million Contract Extension

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistSeptember 9, 2017

Chicago Bears defensive end Akiem Hicks (96) celebrates after a sack against the Detroit Lions during an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016, in Chicago.    (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini)
Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

After a big first season with the Chicago Bears, Akiem Hicks is set to stay with the team for a long time.

The Bears announced they signed the defensive end to a four-year contract extension Saturday.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, deal is worth $48 million, including $30 million in guaranteed money.

The 27-year-old posted a career-high seven sacks in 2016. He also ranked fifth on the team with 54 tackles.

Hicks began his career with the New Orleans Saints after being selected in the third round of the 2012 NFL draft. He started 33 of a possible 35 games from 2013 through the beginning of 2015 until he was traded to the New England Patriots a few weeks into the season. After struggling to make much of an impact for Bill Belichick, he signed a two-year deal with the Bears in March 2016.

While he had ranked tied for 29th in the NFL among defensive ends with an average salary of $5 million, the new deal—at $12 million per season—will push him into a tie for seventh at the position, per Spotrac.

The Chicago defense struggled in 2016, ranking 24th in the league in points allowed. Locking down Hicks, however, could go a long way toward improving the unit going forward.

With the inconsistent Mitch Unrein and the unproven Jonathan Bullard and Roy Robertson-Harris as the only other options at defensive end, the Bears will rely heavily on Hicks this season and beyond.