Bears

An apologetic Akiem Hicks is ready to 'destroy everything' against Miami

An apologetic Akiem Hicks is ready to 'destroy everything' against Miami

The Bears caught a break when the NFL decided against suspending Akiem Hicks for Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins after the defensive lineman made contact with an official in Week 4’s blowout win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Hicks, too, was relieved he wasn’t suspended and spent plenty of time after Sept. 30’s game reflecting on his actions.

Hicks didn’t publicly speak about the incident until Thursday at Halas Hall because he wanted to address his teammates first. Specifically, Hicks wanted to communicate to his younger teammates how wrong his actions were, and how they could’ve had a much more negative affect had they not come during a 38-point win. 

“I know there are a lot of young guys that look up to me on this team, and it’s hypocritical of me to go out there and do things like that and come back to the locker room and think that everything’s gravy,” Hicks said. “It doesn’t work that way. So I wanted to make sure that our guys knew how I felt about the situation, and then I spent time with (the media).”

“… I wanted them to know how I felt about the situation and how wrong my response was to the situation.”

Hicks said he’d never been ejected from a game before, and the feeling of having to go back to the locker room before the rest of his teammates was one he’d never experienced. He was fined $33,425 for making contact with an official.

“You sit in the locker room,” Hicks said. “It’s just not something you’re accustomed to. 

“So it was definitely a relief to not be suspended, but also it was a time for reflection for myself. My boys know I’m going to run hot sometimes, but one place that I run hot is when you have stuff on the line in a game. I guess I just look more so at the possible penalties—what could have happened, the damage I could have done to our team. Let’s say we were in a third-and-short and I get a penalty like that and now they’ve got a first down and a chance to win the game. It’s those things that you have to be more disciplined with.”

Coach Matt Nagy praised how Hicks handled his ejection in the days after it happened and said his message to the team was well-received. 

“He was very apologetic,” Nagy said. “He knew he made a mistake, and that’s not who he is. I think his track record shows that.” 

Hicks has totaled three sacks, two forced fumbles and 15 pressures (per Pro Football Focus) through three and a half games this year, so his availability against Miami will certainly be welcome for Vic Fangio’s group. With the all-clear to play Sunday, Hicks offered what his mindset will be — and it’s what he’s already done all season. 

“Destroy,” Hicks said. “Destroy everything.”

Should the Bears trade for this Ryan Pace player?

Should the Bears trade for this Ryan Pace player?

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Brandin Cooks wants out of L.A. It's no secret the Rams are trying to trade him, and he expressed his desire to be traded on Twitter on Friday.

The Bears have a need in their offense for a speed wide receiver, and Cooks has been one of the most explosive weapons at the position throughout his career.

Prior to last season's offensive meltdown in Los Angeles, Cooks recorded four-straight 1,000-yard seasons and averaged more than 15 yards per catch in three of those years. He's still only 26 years old and has plenty of juice left in his legs to offer his next team a similar level of production; he would be a dynamic complement to Allen Robinson and would round out Chicago's wide receiver corps.

And here's the thing: we know Ryan Pace loves his former Saints. He just rewarded Jimmy Graham with a two-year, $16 million contract despite a market that likely wouldn't have valued his services anywhere near that amount.

But Graham was one of Pace's guys from his days in New Orleans, and so is Cooks.

The Saints traded a first- and third-round pick in the 2014 NFL draft to move up for Cooks (they moved from No. 27 to No. 20 to select him). Pace was New Orleans' Director of Player Personnel at the time; his voice was a powerful one in the decision to acquire Cooks.

The biggest impediment to making a move for Cooks is his contract. He signed a five-year, $81 million deal with the Rams in 2018 and has a $16.8 million cap hit in 2020. With Robinson looking to break the bank on a contract extension in the coming weeks, it's highly unlikely the Bears will commit that much money to the wide receiver position. Any trade will have to include some kind of restructured contract or an agreement that the Rams carry a significant portion of Cooks' cap hit.

There's also the issue of compensation that the Bears could send to Los Angeles for a player as dynamic as Cooks. A trade would require at least one of Chicago's second-round picks. Maybe that's all it will take, but the Rams would be justified asking for more.

The dollars have to make sense and the compensation has to be appealing enough to get a deal done. But there's no doubt Pace is at least researching his options.

Cooks, unlike Graham, would be one of Pace's guys who Bears fans would welcome with open arms.

Bears land two potential starters in latest NFL.com mock draft

Bears land two potential starters in latest NFL.com mock draft

The 2020 NFL draft is less than four weeks away and now that the first wave of free agency is over, team needs have begun to crystallize.

For the Chicago Bears, that means youth at tight end and a starting-quality safety will be high on their draft wish list. According to Chad Reuter's latest NFL.com 2020 mock draft, the Bears check both boxes with potential starters in the second round.

At pick No. 43, Chicago adds LSU safety Grant Delpit, who prior to the 2019 college football season was considered by most draft analysts to be the most gifted defensive player not named Chase Young.

Delpit's final season with the Tigers wasn't the best for his draft stock. He lacked the splash plays that made him a household name last season, but he still displayed the kind of aggressive and fearless style that would make him a strong complement next to Eddie Jackson, who the Bears want to get back to playing centerfield. Delpit will slide to the second round because he's an inconsistent finisher, but he'd offer great value for a Bears defense that needs an aggressive run defender on its third level.

At No. 50, the Bears snag a potential starter at tight end in Purdue's Brycen Hopkins

Hopkins is a wide receiver in a tight end's body; he's everything Chicago's offense has been missing. Regardless of who wins the team's quarterback competition this summer, a player like Hopkins has the kind of playmaking ability to instantly become one of the early reads in the offense's passing game. 

With veterans Jimmy Graham and Trey Burton already on the roster, a player like Hopkins could be eased into the lineup with the expectation that he'd eventually become the primary receiving option at the position by the end of his rookie season.

Not a bad second-round haul. It's critically important that Ryan Pace hits on his second-rounders, too. The Bears' next pick doesn't occur until the fifth round, which is usually when special teams players and practice squad candidates are added.