Akiem Hicks Won’t Return To Patriots, Agrees To Contract With Bears

The New England Patriots’ top unrestricted free agent won’t return in 2016.

Defensive tackle Akiem Hicks agreed to terms on a two-year contract with the Chicago Bears, the team announced Sunday night.

The Patriots acquired Hicks in October from the New Orleans Saints in a trade for tight end Michael Hoomanawanui. Hicks had 21 tackles with three sacks in 13 games with the Patriots in 2015. He served as a rotational defensive tackle, rushing the passer on third down after Dominique Easley went on season-ending injured reserve.

The Patriots are left with Easley, Malcom Brown, Alan Branch, Chris Jones, Ishmaa’ily Kitchen, Joe Vellano and recently-acquired Frank Kearse at defensive tackle. They could address the position in the 2016 NFL Draft or sign another free agent.

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Dec 20, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots defensive end Akiem Hicks (72) reacts after recovering a fumble and returning for a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans in the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

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