FRISCO - Early on in NFL free agency, the Kansas City Chiefs parted ways with linebacker Anthony Hitchens, a former Dallas Cowboys starter.
Hitchens reportedly was seeking a reunion at The Star. … an idea that may have become a bit less intriguing due to ensuing events.
Hitchens, 29, spent the last four seasons with Kansas City after leaving Dallas via free agency and then signing with the team on a five-year, $45 million deal in 2018.
This offseason, he is a cap casualty in Kansas City and is coming off a season in which he made $10 million.
Are the Cowboys going to sign a $10 million APY linebacker? That answer is “no,” as expressed in the form of flirtations with Bobby Wagner (to the Rams) and Von Miller (to the Bills), both of whom had interest in Dallas but needed to get paid.
Hitchens is not on their level. But he’s still a starting linebacker, as he was in both Dallas and Kansas City? Is he player who could help a unit that is led by star rookie Micah Parsons?
Less now than before the start of free agency - and here’s why …
The Cowboys got (created?) good news in the linebacker room by finding a way to 1) re-sign Leighton Vander Esch to a contract at one-fourth what some thought he was worth and 2) aided the rehab of second-year prospect Jabril Cox.
Hitchens, solid as he is - he started 59 games for KC over the past four years, leading the Chiefs in tackles in 2018 and '19, a run that included a career-best 135 tackles in 2018 - doesn’t have LVE’s skill or Cox’ potential.
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He is, we should note, still highly-regarded in Kansas City.
“When I first became general manager, one of the first moves I wanted to make was to bring in Anthony Hitchens from Dallas,” Chiefs exec Brett Veach said in a statement. “We knew how intelligent, hard working and consistent he was as a player, and we knew he'd become a selfless leader. He was that and more. He has all the intangibles and was an integral piece in our franchise winning a Super Bowl title.''
But the Dallas move at linebacker, in the unlikely event one is coming, needs to be a needle-mover. ... Think Minnesota free agent Anthony Barr. Indeed, that might be the central argument here: Which "Anthony'' really helps Dallas?
Hitchens, who began his career with the Cowboys after being drafted by Dallas in the fourth round in 2014 out of Iowa, was a team captain with Kansas City last season. He is so many of the right things; as Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “He's as tough as they come in this league and is a team-first player.
He’s the right guy. It’s just not the right time or place.
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