Bears Rumors: Akiem Hicks Given Permission to Seek Trade Ahead of Contract Year

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 19, 2021

Chicago Bears defensive tackle Akiem Hicks stands on the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

Not landing Russell Wilson may not be the only difficult news for Chicago Bears fans this offseason.

According to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, the NFC North team granted permission to defensive lineman Akiem Hicks to seek a trade. This comes after the Bears released cornerback Kyle Fuller to clear $11 million in cap space.

Briggs noted Hicks, who is set to make $10.5 million in the final year of his contract in 2021, would like a raise in a new deal if he can find a trade.

Fuller by himself is already a massive loss.

After all, he was the team's No. 1 cornerback and consistently tasked with lining up across the opponent's best wide receiver as a two-time Pro Bowler. Losing him and Hicks, who frequently draws double teams in the middle of the defensive line and opens up blitzing lanes for Khalil Mack and others, would be brutal for the Bears.

Hicks had 49 tackles and 3.5 sacks last year and isn't that far removed from earning a sparkling overall player grade of 91.7 from Pro Football Focus as a Pro Bowler in 2018.

Briggs noted Chicago needs cap space to include inconsistent offensive lineman Germain Ifedi and quarterback Andy Dalton, who is 6-16 as a starter the last two years. While it is not as straightforward as losing Fuller and Hicks to gain those two players, juxtaposing the additions next to the possible subtractions makes this offseason look even bleaker for the Bears.

There is something to be said about potentially getting something back for Hicks before he could leave next offseason.

He is also 31 years old and may be past his prime some, and landing a younger player could help the Bears as they look toward the future.

Still, not having Fuller or Hicks on the defense in 2021 would make what was once a strong unit substantially weaker.