The Kansas City Chiefs have officially released veteran linebacker Anthony Hitchens after wrapping up his fourth season with the team.
Signing Hitchens was one of the first major moves by general manager Brett Veach after taking over the team from former GM John Dorsey in an attempt to rebuild the Chiefs’ linebacking corps over the next few years.
Hitchens was a young free agent out of Dallas who had been a spot starter for the Cowboys (given their myriad of injuries to their starting linebackers) who finally found a permanent home with the Chiefs.
It took some time for Hitchens to live up to his fairly lucrative deal in Kansas City, but the veteran linebacker became a valuable contributor in the heart of a defense that helped deliver the first championship to the Chiefs in 50 seasons. He provided an all-around presence that can play well against the run and in coverage while handling important communication responsibilities in the middle.
Anthony Hitchens is now officially a free agent after his release from the Chiefs.
That said, Hitchens is also into the more expensive part of his five-year, $45 million contract and his release from the Chiefs was one of the most obvious moves to be made this offseason given Veach’s recent moves. The Chiefs had invested consecutive second-round picks in the NFL Draft in both 2020 and 2021 in linebackers, including a player like Nick Bolton who fits the same profile as Hitchens at a higher level.
Given that both he and Willie Gay Jr. are on cost-controlled slotted deals, it only makes sense for the Chiefs to release Hitchens as a way to save money at a spot where the talent won’t drop off. Still, some other team is going to likely find themselves a very solid addition by signing Hitchens away from the Chiefs.
Hitchens had 381 tackles in 59 starts in Kansas City over the last four NFL seasons. He will turn 30 years old in June.