Over at ESPN, Jeremy Fowler explores various high-profile names who could find themselves on the trade block this summer. And among the biggest and best names is Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks.
If you’ll recall, the Bears gave Hicks permission to seek a trade earlier in the offseason, but so far, Hicks and his agent have been unsuccessful (the Bears could’ve come into $10.5 million in salary cap space had they been). And while that extra cap space would’ve come at the expense of losing a popular and productive player, it also could’ve been helpful in endeavors elsewhere. Nevertheless, Hicks is still a Bear. In fact, Fowler even reports that there are no new developments when it comes to a Hicks trade … and yet, he still makes the cut here. So, what gives?
Here’s what Fowler had to say (bold emphasis mine):
Chicago has allowed Hicks and agent Drew Rosenhaus to gauge trade interest, as the Chicago Tribune reported in March. There are no recent developments here. For now, he’s still a Bear.
Some teams believe Hicks is a top-five interior disruptor, but his age (31) could prevent them from giving up draft capital and signing him to a new deal. Hicks, a 2022 free agent, is due a total of $10.5 million this year.
This one could heat up closer to training camp.
This has always been the rub when it comes to trading Hicks, and on multiple fronts, too. The Bears shouldn’t want to just give away a player who still has juice in the trenches. Especially not in a year where the general manager and head coach will be pushing to be competitive in order to receive extension on their respective deals. That would be counterproductive on multiple levels. If Hicks is good, then the defense will likely follow his lead. And the Bears should be in the business of retaining talent, not giving it up right now.
And on the other end of the negotiating table, it’s easy to envision teams hesitating to trade for a player on the final year of his deal knowing he was a free-agent-to-be. In short, Hicks has value to the Bears as a player in 2021. And because teams still think he is good, Hicks could be someone highly sought after on the trade market. However, there are factors limiting his market and complicating any potential deal. Fowler hints things could heat up “closer to training camp.” Maybe a team budges because it needs defensive help. Perhaps the Bears buckle up and come up with an extension that could soften Hicks’ cap hit. There are options on the table. All things considered, it’s worth keeping an eye on.