Chicago Bears contract debates are an ongoing thing among fans. They really never stop because the NFL is a 365-days-a-year entity. Even with the 2017 season approaching, people are already looking towards 2018. Last year it was the same. The man people talked about the most was wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. Many wondered and were concerned the former Pro Bowler might leave if the team failed to extend him.
Turns out they were right. Jeffery left in free agency to join the Philadelphia Eagles. Lately those worries have shifted to new top draft choice Mitch Trubisky. The young quarterback still hasn’t signed his rookie deal. While there’s no cause for alarm yet, people have visions of that ugly holdout by defensive end Joey Bosa last year in San Diego. One that provided an unwelcome distraction.
However, Trubisky himself has said he has no intentions of worrying about his deal. That’s his agents’ thing. He is way too busy trying to absorb the Bears playbook. No, the actual contract situation that fans should really be paying attention to is on the other side of the ball.
Chicago Bears contract of Akiem Hicks is entering danger zone
It can be said without question that GM Ryan Pace hit a home run when he signed Akiem Hicks last year. The defensive lineman became a force for them up front, delivering seven sacks and opening up big opportunities for teammates like Leonard Floyd and Pernell McPhee. His presence has become vital to their continued success.
That’s why it’s a big nerve racking that his contract is in its final year. He will be a free agent in March of 2018 unless the Bears are able to work out an extension. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune laid it out.
“Hicks turns 28 in November, young enough to command a lucrative contract, and it will be interesting to see if the Bears try to craft a new deal for him before the first game (as they did with outside linebacker Willie Young last August) or during the regular season.
Hicks, who signed a two-year, $10 million contract after splitting time between the Saints and Patriots in 2015, will earn $5 million this season and was the Bears’ most dependable defensive lineman last season.
First things first, though, as Hicks has to find someone to represent him in the event the Bears want to open talks. Hicks told the Tribune he parted ways about three months ago with agent Frank Murtha, who helped guide him from the University of Regina in Saskatchewan to the NFL.”
Time is of the essence
Hicks stated that he is very interested in staying with Chicago. Of course with Ryan Pace the negotiation process can be drawn out. The Bears GM is notorious for refusing to overpay anybody. In fairness he’s done well at working out extensions in the past. He did so with Kyle Long, Willie Young, and Tracey Porter without much issue. Hicks will be a challenge due to the agent problem and his value spiking after a productive 2016.
Then again this is exactly the sort of situation Pace wants to create. Bring in a younger veteran on a cheap deal, see if he outperforms it and then give him more money in an extension. The good news is the Bears have time on their side. Basically until the day before free agency begins next March. Then again people said the same thing about Alshon Jeffery. So best to get this worked out sooner than later.
Otherwise the defense will lose one of its most important pieces right when it was just starting to discover an identity.