Anthony Hitchens’ contract named Kansas City Chiefs worst move of offseason

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

Bleacher Report called out the worst move for each franchise in a recent column, and the signing of Anthony Hitchens to so much cash was the Chiefs worst.

The Kansas City Chiefs signed two major free agents this offseason, and both contracts have been lambasted by NFL analysts who feel the team overpaid for both wide receiver Sammy Watkins and linebacker Anthony Hitchens. Only time will tell whether or not Brett Veach had the right vision for both men and their future production, but for now the deals are still being criticized.

The latest head-shaking comes courtesy of Zach Kruse from Bleacher Report who called the signing of Hitchens to a five-year, $45 million deal as the worst move made by the Chiefs this offseason.

"Somehow, Hitchens must produce at elite inside linebacker levels to justify his contract. In all likelihood, this deal will look like a massive overpay—and an enormous mistake—a few years down the road."

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The Chiefs needed some significant help in the middle as the team decided to let Derrick Johnson leave. Reggie Ragland was brought in to provide some help in the middle, but another well-round linebacker was also necessary to stand next to Ragland and provide what DJ gave the Chiefs for so many years.

Veach, the Chiefs general manager, has made no secret of the fact that he’s wanted Hitchens for some time, so it’s clear he believes that his best years are ahead of him. Hitchens played his first four seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, serving as an important piece as injuries took their toll on the team’s linebacking corps, especially for Sean Lee. But even Dallas wasn’t willing to pay Hitchens that much based on a limited body of work that didn’t signal the sort of elite production that Veach is paying for (and envisioning, obviously).

Hitchens’ average of $9 million per year makes him No. 6 overall (tied with Mark Barron of the L.A. Rams) right now at his position. It’s also fair to say that, until now, Hitchens would not be considered by anyone to be one of the NFL’s top 6 or even 10 (or even 20?) inside linebackers. That said, Hitchens has also never had the sort of chance to make an impact that he’s been given in K.C.

All of this really comes down to Brett Veach’s vision for a player like Hitchens. He’s watched the tape. He’s studied the schemes. He’s well aware of his strengths and weaknesses and how he is best utilized within Bob Sutton’s defense. If this vision is an accurate one, then paying Hitchens for such production will seem prescient on the part of Veach. That’s exactly what you want in a GM.