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Ranking the Bears' best free-agent signings

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With the NFL free agency period set to begin Wednesday at 3 p.m. (CT), here's my rankings of the top free agents the Bears have signed since Ryan Pace became general manager in 2015. Readers are invited to rank the following players at the bottom of the page.

Rank
1
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Akiem Hicks
DT

Hicks has been the heart and soul of a mostly dominant Bears defense since arriving in 2016. He was voted to his first career Pro Bowl in 2018 when he helped lead the Bears to the NFC North title with a 12-4 record and was just as deserving in 2017 when he was snubbed.

In 2017, Hicks led the Bears with 8.5 sacks and 15 tackles-for-loss. In 2018, he topped the defense with 12 tackles-for-loss while ranking second behind perennial Pro Bowl outside linebacker Khalil Mack with 7.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and 16 quarterback hits.

Last season Hicks missed nine of the last 10 games with an elbow injury he sustained in a Week 5 loss to the Raiders in London. But he did not require surgery and is expected to fully recover from the injury this offseason.

Rank
2
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Allen Robinson II
WR

After tearing his ACL in the 2017 season opener while playing for the Jaguars, Robinson rebounded in his first season with the Bears in 2018, recording 55 receptions for a team-leading 754 yards and four touchdowns.

Robinson was even better in 2019, registering a team-leading and career-high 98 receptions for 1,147 yards and seven touchdowns. In the process, he became only the third receiver in Bears history with at least 95 catches and 1,100 yards in a season. Marty Booker was the first to do it in 2002, while Brandon Marshall accomplished the feat in 2012 and again in 2013.

Robinson is just as valuable off the field. In 2019, he was named the Bears' nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, which recognizes players for outstanding community service activities as well as excellence on the field; was presented with the Bears Media Good Guy Award for being the team's most cooperative player with the media; and won the Ed Block Courage Award, which is given to one player on every NFL team who best exemplifies a commitment to sportsmanship and courage and serves as an inspiration in the locker room.

Rank
3
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Danny Trevathan
LB

A productive and highly-respected leader, Trevathan has played an instrumental role in the success of the Bears defense the past four seasons. In 2018, he started all 16 games and ranked second on the NFC North champions with 102 tackles while also registering two sacks, two interceptions, eight tackles-for-loss, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

Trevathan, who joined the Bears after helping the Broncos win Super Bowl 50, was having another excellent campaign in 2019 when he sustained a season-ending elbow injury in a Week 10 win over the Lions at Soldier Field. At the time, he was leading the Bears with 70 tackles.

Trevathan is due to become an unrestricted free agent again next week when his contract expires.

Rank
4
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Cordarrelle Patterson
WR

The versatile Patterson made a huge splash in his first season with the Bears in 2019, earning All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors as a kickoff returner and special-teams player after excelling as a gunner covering punts. Patterson was honored after ranking second in the NFL with a 29.5-yard average on 28 kickoff returns, including a 102-yard touchdown against the Saints. He also led the league with 825 kick-return yards.

Last month at the NFL Combine, Pace hinted that Patterson's role on offense could expand in 2020. Playing on 18.9 percent of the Bears' offensive snaps in 2019, Patterson had 11 receptions for 83 yards and rushed for 103 yards on 17 carries, with a long of 46 yards.

"That's a guy [coach] Matt [Nagy] and I have talked about, just making sure we're maximizing his talent," Pace said. "Obviously, he's an explosive, talented player. That can be at running back, receiver, returner. We're going to make sure we're getting the most out of that player because he's too talented not to."

Rank
5
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Prince Amukamara
CB

Although the veteran was released by the Bears Feb. 21 to free up salary-cap space, Amukamara had three solid seasons in Chicago. He appeared in 44 games with 42 starts and compiled 167 tackles, three interceptions, 29 pass breakups, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Amukamara's most productive season with the Bears was in 2018 when he had 66 tackles and three interceptions, one of which he returned 49 yards for a touchdown against Russell Wilson in a 24-17 Monday night win over the Seahawks at Soldier Field.

Rank
6
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Bobby Massie
OL

Massie has been a staple on the Bears offensive line the past four seasons, starting all 56 games he's played. He started all 16 contests in 2018 when the Bears won the NFC North for the first time in eight years.

After missing just two games in his first three seasons in Chicago, Massie sat out the final five contests last year with an ankle injury.

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