Anthony Hitchens brings “bone-crushing tackling” ability to Chiefs

SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 02: Anthony Hitchens
SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 02: Anthony Hitchens /

We recently asked Steven Mullenax from The Landry Hat some key questions about Anthony Hitchens and why Dallas let him walk.

While the Kansas City Chiefs have made several moves so far in free agency, general manager Brett Veach has made two major splashes with the signings of wideout Sammy Watkins and linebacker Anthony Hitchens.

Hitchens signed a five year deal with a $9 million average salary, raising eyebrows for both Chiefs Kingdom and fans of his former team, the Dallas Cowboys. To get some glimpse into what Chiefs fans should expect from their newest signing, we asked Steven Mullenax of the Landry Hat to tell us more about the Hitchens and what he brings to the table.

Why did the Cowboys allow Hitchens to get away in the first place?

Honestly, the Dallas Cowboys didn’t want to lose Anthony Hitchens. Both linebackers Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith have major injury concerns. Hitchens was the team’s best insurance policy. But with defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence being a free agent, and an expected extension for All-Pro guard Zack Martin looming, the Cowboys simply didn’t have the salary cap space to retain Hitchens. Especially not at the price point Kansas City set.

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What does Hitchens do well?

The Chiefs are getting a high-motor linebacker who will rack up the tackles in bunches. He’s someone who can sniff out the run quickly and easily moves through traffic. I think fans will fall in love with Hitchens’ energy and his ability to make bone-crushing tackles. He’s a very exciting player to watch.

What are Hitchens’ limitations?

Hitchens isn’t someone you want in coverage for very long. That’s his absolute biggest weakness and the KC coaching staff should avoid putting him in those kinds of situations at all cost. Hitchens is very much a downhill player who will hit you with some pop. That’s what the Chiefs should allow him to do.

Is there reason to believe the best is yet to come for Hitchens? Why or why not?

Hitchens exploded on to the scene for Dallas in his rookie year. As a fourth rounder, the expectations were low. During his second and third season, I thought he was still a consistent defender. But he was a liability in coverage and that limited his development. Last season was Hitchens’ best as a Cowboy as things seemed to “click” for the 25-year old. I think the Chiefs are getting a very talented linebacker that’s heading into his prime and has room to grow.

Were you surprised at the money involved?

Absolutely. Anthony Hitchens would have been the Cowboys’ starting middle linebacker in 2018. So, the Chiefs are getting a starting-caliber player. Are they getting a linebacker worth $9 million per year? No, but I think he could eventually become someone worthy of that price tag. This early into free agency, every team overpays for talent. And that’s the case here. Kansas City isn’t paying Hitchens for the player he is now, but for the one they hope he can become.