Akiem Hicks free agent 2022 will draw plenty of interest in the market. Several teams are in need of a vocal presence in the locker room who can also help limit the run and get to the opposing quarterback. And the Chicago Bears veteran checks all those boxes.

The Bears are expected to be a much better team next season, which isn’t that hard to think after parting ways with Matt Nagy. But they’ll need to keep their defensive unit together in order to do so, and that includes re-signing Hicks.

Hicks isn’t the youngest player in his position testing free agency but he’s certainly one of the most accomplished. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how his future could look like:

Akiem Hicks free agent 2022

Akiem Hicks has been one of the most consistent pass-rushers in the NFL over the past six or seven seasons. Nonetheless, he’s not getting any younger and at 32 years old, he may not get as much money as he’d like in the offseason. As of now, he could be looking at a two-year deal worth nearly $14 million.

5. Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens were once again hit by injuries, tough luck, and underperformance at key moments. But they’re still one of the teams to beat in the AFC. They need to add more offensive firepower but can’t let their defense plummet either.

    

Harbaugh’s team is looking at losing Calais Campbell in the offseason. And while they could address that loss in the draft instead of pursuing a 32-year-old In the backend of his career, they want to win and compete now. They don’t have any time to lose.

4. Bears

Even though Hicks is expected to become a free agent and test the waters, that doesn’t mean that he can’t come back to the Chicago Bears. They’re excited about their new project and Justin Fields is expected to take a leap forward after a somewhat disappointing rookie season.

With that in mind, the Bears just can’t afford to break up their physical, tough defensive unit. Hicks has been an instrumental part of their defensive success over the past six years or so. There could be some financial hurdles but they’re confident they can work things out.

3. Raiders

Some believe that Akiem Hicks’ free agency will end in Las Vegas. Josh McDaniels’ Raiders already have two top-notch players at his position in Yannick Ngakoue and Maxx Crosby, but they still need some help in the interior of their defensive line.

While he’s not getting any younger and may need to catch a breather every now and then, he’d be a key improvement in terms of stopping the run. The Raiders have enough money to spare and are on the hunt for another pass-rusher.

2. Chargers

The Los Angeles Chargers and Akiem Hicks have obvious ties. For starters, Hicks already thrived under Brandon Staley’s tutelage, as he served as the outside linebackers coach for the Bears. Also, no playoff-hopeful team is in more need of a defensive revamp than the Chargers.

    

The Chargers have nearly $60 million in cap space to address that need, so they could pretty much outbid every other team for his services. Hicks could certainly help them limit all those big plays in the running game while also serving as a mentor for a young, up-and-coming team.

1. Bills

Even though they didn’t get the credit they deserved, the Buffalo Bills actually had one of the best, most balanced defenses in the league last season. However, they could lose both Mario Addison and Jerry Hughes in the offseason, and that could be a massive blow for them.

Hughes could even entertain the thought of retirement after his age-33 season and Hicks could be the perfect replacement. He’d get the chance to play for a contender towards the end of his career and pursue that Super Bowl ring. Even so, the Bills will need to make some moves to get under the cap before trying to sign him.

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