Chicago Bears Offseason Needs: Defensive Line
The Chicago Bears run defense was pretty much middle of the road during the 2021 season. They weren’t great, but they weren’t terrible, at least statistically. Even the pass rush was effective, finishing fourth in the league for sacks with 49, trailing only the Pittsburgh Steelers (55), Minnesota Vikings (51) and Los Angeles Rams (50).
The only real reason that defensive line is on this list is because of what could result from free agency. The defensive line is really only set to lose Akiem Hicks and Bilal Nichols, but the problem is that both of those players were starters for Chicago this past season.
Losing one would be something the Bears could make adjustments for and overcome, but losing both in the same offseason could completely shift the tide of this defensive line. Whether it be bringing Hicks and/or Nichols back or looking to new talent, Chicago needs to have a plan for how to address the defensive line, because moving forward without Hicks, Nichols or any ready-to-start talent to replace them could tremendously damage this defense.
Of the two, Nichols makes the most sense to bring back. He’s young and has been more reliable in terms of staying on the field. If Chicago can bring back Nichols and find a new player to replace Hicks, that might be their best option.