One of my long-standing stances when it comes to fan favorite players is for them to sign on with a team that could help deliver them to championship glory if they aren’t coming back to my favorite team. But when it comes to the NFL, with that sentiment comes the risk of a popular fan favorite signing with a team like the Packers — a team seemingly always pushing to win this year’s Lombardi Trophy at the cost of kicking the can down the road if need be.
But when it comes to Akiem Hicks, we won’t have to worry about that possibility. That is because reports have him going to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
Former Bears’ DL Akiem Hicks reached agreement today on a one-year deal worth up to $10 million with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, per source. Deal negotiated by Bucs’ exec Mike Greenberg and agents @DrewJRosenhaus and @RyanMatha.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 31, 2022
Not only does Hicks join a Super Bowl contender, he enters the mix with a loaded defensive front. Todd Bowles’ defense featuring Vita Tea, Logan Hall, and Hicks in the middle figures to give offensive coordinators and lineman nightmares. And that Hicks is getting a deal worth up to $10 million means that he gets one last big bag. Who knows, perhaps he could turn a productive 2022 season into a bigger, long-term deal next offseason.
In the end, Hicks’ signing with Tampa Bay officially closes his chapter with the Bears. And what a run it was for the fearsome defensive lineman. There was no better description for what Hicks did than this, from fellow defensive lineman Mike Daniels:
“Akiem is the man. He doesn’t wear gloves. He got white tape. He just looks like … he looks like a Bear.”
And THAT is why I don’t believe the Bears are some 4-11-1 team. They’ve got Akiem Hicks. Other teams don’t.pic.twitter.com/bX6gcy6xw0
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) May 8, 2020
Hicks was arguably Ryan Pace’s best free agent signing. After arriving with little fan fare after stints with the Saints and Patriots, Hicks’ best seasons came in Chicago. At the peak of his powers, he was one of the NFL’s best interior defensive linemen. In 48 games between 2016-18, Hicks came through with 23 sacks, 53 QB Hits, 38 tackles-for-loss, 5 forced fumbles, and a mess load of highlights in which he is wrecking ball carriers and quarterbacks alike.
Oh, and he has this on his record, too:
I’m not sure what I miss more: Akiem Hicks’ defense or his nose for the end zone when given the ball at the goal line. pic.twitter.com/aInVOMnh9m
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) October 31, 2019
Last summer, Hicks’ agent made it known that his client was hoping to ink an extension in Chicago. Nothing came of it, which was a familiar refrain the last two summers when it came to Bears players requesting new paper. A year later, Hicks is gone to Tampa Bay. May the Force be with you, old friend.