Former Bears Coach Linked to Akiem Hicks in New Trade Rumor

Akiem Hicks trade rumors

Getty One AFC team is reported to have an eye on Akiem Hicks of the Chicago Bears.

Trade rumors have been swirling around Chicago Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks for months now, and they’re starting to fly at a rampant speed.

The NFL’s trade deadline is coming up on November 2, and teams will have until then to swap players and draft capital. The 32-year-old Hicks has made it known that he wants to retire a Bear, but his recent hiatus from the media (he didn’t speak to reporters from the end of last season until this September) coupled with the potential interest of other teams got the rumor mill churning in recent months.

Now, it’s churning again.

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Hicks Still Wants to Remain a Bear

Hicks is in the final year of a four-year, $48 million contract extension he signed with the team in 2017, and considering his recent injury issues, Chicago may be balking when it comes to re-signing him again. He went down on the first play Week 4 with a groin injury, and he hasn’t played since. Hicks played in 15 games last year, but in 2019, he missed 11 games with an elbow injury, and at his age, injuries are a definite concern.

“I know that there’s been talk about me not speaking for months at a time,” Hicks told Bears sideline reporter Mark Grote during a conversation on 670 The Score September 14.

“Going into training camp, I think for me I’ve wanted to focus on the celebration of this moment in my career. No matter what I said, no matter how I phrased my intention on being a Bear for the rest of my career, that’s what I want, that’s what I feel is right for me. I’ve just had so many joy-filled moments as a Chicago Bear. I can’t see myself in another jersey.”

He knows he has no say in the matter, however.

“Unfortunately, you don’t get to choose this moment,” Hicks added, per Yahoo Sports. “I don’t get to say, ‘This is the date, the end of my contract,’ but it’s upon us and I have to accept that. It’s a present thought in my mind, but it can’t be my main focus in this period of time.”

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Los Angeles Chargers Rumored to Be Interested in Hicks

According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Los Angeles Chargers are the prime contenders for a potential trade, as head coach Brandon Staley and a core member of his staff have ties to Hicks. Staley was the outside linebackers coach in Chicago from 2017-18, and Hicks’ former position coach, defensive line coach Jay Rodgers, is currently on staff with Staley.

“The Los Angeles Chargers monitored the Akiem Hicks situation in the preseason — coach Brandon Staley has Chicago ties from the Vic Fangio coaching tree. They’ve also had injuries upfront. If Chicago tries to unload the defensive tackle by Nov. 2, teams would love to add his disruption to their lineups. The problem: Hicks’ $10.4 million salary is a nonstarter for many franchises,” Fowler wrote on October 12.

It wouldn’t be a nonstarter for the Chargers, who currently have close to $12 million in available cap space, per Spotrac. If the Chargers are willing to pick up the remainder of Hicks’ $10.4 million salary while giving the Bears a 2022 third-round pick and some change, it would seriously be worth considering for Chicago.

That said, Hicks has been a core member of the defense since he arrived in 2016, and he has amassed 28 sacks, 47 tackles for loss and 83 QB hits in that time. If he goes, this unit will miss him — but he hasn’t been on the field recently, so the severity of his current groin issue will absolutely be something to monitor going forward.

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