By Chris Emma–
(CBS) The Bears have signed defensive lineman Akiem Hicks to a two-year deal, the team officially announced on Sunday night.
Hicks arrived in Chicago on Friday and spent the weekend in town for a visit. After declining to follow up on his scheduled visit with the Lions, Hicks came to the decision on Sunday to sign with the Bears.
“We just signed a real live bear to maul people on Sundays,” tweeted Bears tackle Kyle Long upon learning the news.
Hicks emerged as one of the Bears’ top free-agent targets during the legal tampering period earlier this week. A four-year NFL veteran, Hicks was drafted in the sixth round in 2012 by the Saints, who then employed Bears general manager Ryan Pace in their front office.
A 6-foot-5, 324-pounder who has played defensive tackle but likely fits as an end with the Bears, Hicks had three sacks in 13 games with the Patriots last season. He had previously played three-plus seasons with the Saints, posting 118 tackles in his time in New Orleans.
Chicago has solidified its defensive depth by hitting on a top priority in linebacker Danny Trevathan with a four-year deal and signing linebacker Jerrell Freeman to a three-year deal on Saturday. Trevathan on Thursday spoke of the Bears’ need for one more impact player on the defense.
“We just need somebody else,” Trevathan said. “I’m here, and I’m sure those other pieces are coming.”