Jay Cutler’s recent play helped recruit Akiem Hicks to the Bears.

The defensive end, who signed a two-year deal Sunday, said playing with the Bears quarterback was an enticement.

“Of course, it’s Jay Cutler,” the defensive end said Monday morning. “Of course I look at Jay Cutler and say ‘Oh man, he’s going to give you a great opportunity to win every Sunday.’ I can’t say that I called him before I made my decision but I definitely looked at the quarterback. It’s a staple of every team, right?”

Particularly his last two teams. He played alongside Drew Brees with the Saints before, after three games last season, being dealt to the Patriots and Tom Brady.

He said there was “great effort” made to return to New England, but wound up choosing the Bears. The Lions also expressed interest.

Inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman also praised Cutler when he joined the Bears on Saturday. The Bears quarterback, seemingly, has become somewhat of a selling point.

“I would say that it would be hard to find a couple of D-linemen in this league who don’t know who Jay Cutler is and what he brings to the table,” Hicks said.

Hicks said he was excited about opportunities in Chicago, but said only coaches could determine his role on the team.

He was intrigued, too, by the recent moves GM Ryan Pace has made. Pace was part of the Saints front office that drafted him.

“They have been and are still currently making great decisions in order to bring players and the coaching staff and everybody to this organization to build something great here in Chicago,” he said. “I’m a believer.

“I’ve seen some of the moves that they’ve made and I’ve seen the way that they’ve gone about business and I’m excited to be a part of that, and was excited from afar.”

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Email: pfinley@suntimes.com