Bears trade of Bennett a “win-win”

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For most observers of the Chicago Bears, the team’s decision to trade TE Martellus Bennett was no surprise. Privately, the Bears had been shopping the mercurial Bennett for some time. That the team could find a trade partner, much less net a fourth-round draft pick in this year’s draft, classifies as a pleasant surprise given the Bears intentions to move him.

After staying away from last year’s off-season program, Bennett rubbed new Bears brass Ryan Pace and John Fox the wrong way. Pace and Fox prefer their players to be devoted and dedicated to the cause, with an  “all-for-one” and “one-for-all” mentality, something the individualistic Bennett simply didn’t or couldn’t adhere to.

In addition to missing last year’s offseason, Bennett grumbled about his salary and sought a new contract despite having two years remaining.

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Bears add DL Hicks

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The Chicago Bears pursuit of DL Akiem Hicks paid off Sunday night. The Bears announced they signed Hicks to a two-year contract after earlier reports in the weekend that the sought after free agent had inked a deal with Detroit.

Hicks is familiar to Bears GM Ryan Pace after the Saints drafted the former Canadian college standout in the third round out of  the University of Regina in 2012.

Hicks adds size and talent to a Bears defensive front short on both. He should push for a starting job and is a still developing player with upside, something valued by Pace and Bears head coach John Fox.

Listed at 6-5, 324-pounds, Hicks has appeared in 61 contests with 33 starts over four seasons with the New Orleans Saints (2012-15) and New England Patriots (2015), producing 140 tackles, 9.5 sacks 22 tackles for losses, 23 QB hits, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery – which he recovered in the end zone for a touchdown.

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Freeman latest piece in Bears defensive makeover

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Saturday shaped up as another busy day for the Chicago Bears in free agency. The Bears agreed to terms with LB Jerrell Freeman on a three-year contract, and re-signed role players Mitch Unrein and Marc Mariani.

Freeman is an active, instinctive, and rangy playmaker who isn’t afraid to stick his nose in the pile, yet is equally skilled in coverage. He possesses a knack for being around the ball, something the Bears will relish after a dearth of defensive takeaways in 2015.

Listed at 6-0, 240-pounds, Freeman has started all 57 games he has played over four seasons (2012-15) with the Indianapolis Colts, registering 478 tackles, 12 sacks, 21 tackles for losses, eight forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, four interceptions – two of which he returned for touchdowns – and 17 pass break-ups.

His 478 tackles (according to press box statistics) are tied for sixth in the NFL over the last four seasons and Freeman led the Colts in defensive stops in 2012 (145) and 2013 (126) and ranked second on the team in 2014 (95) and 2015 (112). READ MORE