Bears All-Pro Makes Plea for Team to Bring Back Familiar Face

Akiem Hicks

Getty Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers is sacked by former Bears DL Akiem Hicks.

Eddie Jackson is urging the Chicago Bears to bring back a longtime fan favorite.

The All-Pro safety took to Twitter on April 22 to ask his current team to re-sign defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, who is still a free agent. The 32-year-old Hicks, who spent the previous six seasons in Chicago, has been a game-wrecker for the team, but he has had a difficult time staying healthy in recent seasons.

The new Bears regime, led by general manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus, hasn’t brought back many free agents associated with the previous staff, so Hicks’ return to the Windy City remains a question mark.

That isn’t deterring Jackson, who also tagged Hicks in his post. The veteran D-lineman later responded.

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Staying Healthy Has Been Primary Issue for Hicks

Hicks had played at least 781 snaps in each of his first three seasons with the Bears before injuries kept him off the field for significant chunks of the 2019 and 2021 seasons.

When healthy, he’s still a disruptive force, even at his age.

In nine games and 303 snaps last season, he racked up 5.0 sacks, 15 total pressures, five quarterback hits and five hurries. He also earned a 71.9 pass rush grade from PFF.

Money could be a primary hurdle when considering bringing the veteran defender back. Spotrac has Hicks’ market value projected at $5.5 million a year, and with over $13 million currently available on their salary cap, it doesn’t look as though Chicago can — or will — pay him in that ballpark.

That doesn’t mean Hicks didn’t appreciate the love from his former teammate:

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2022 Will Be Huge for Jackson

Jackson, who was an All-Pro in 2018, hasn’t had an interception in his last 30 games. Unlike Hicks, Jackson has stayed healthy in recent seasons, but the production just hasn’t been there. After notching 15 passes defensed and six picks in 2018, Jackson has just amassed 12 passes defensed and two interceptions in the three seasons since.

He’ll need to step up his production in a big way if he wants to fit into Eberflus’ new defense.

“We had a good conversation about this is a fresh slate for him and to just go out there and work and show us what you can do,” Eberflus said about Jackson in March, via Jason Lieser of the Chicago Sun-Times.

“Sure, you’ve got to run basic plays, but we’ve got to be able to see, for example at that position, can you cover tight ends? Can you cover backs? Are you efficient playing half or quarters or playing in the middle of the field? He’s done all those things, but we want to see his skill set now. What is his skill set right now at this time? And we’re excited to do that,” Eberflus added.

For his part, Jackson admits his 2021 campaign wasn’t the greatest.

“That’s probably one of my worst seasons,” Jackson told the media on April 21. “I gave up too many deep balls. Just trying to eliminate that.”

“I know what I’m capable of,” the Bears safety added. “That’s what I want to get back to, is making those plays. That’s the biggest thing for me is just go out there flying around and lead my guys. I’m going to do whatever it takes. I’m willing to buy in. Whatever it takes, whatever they ask of me, I’m willing to do it.”

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