Chiefs Make Final Decision on Anthony Hitchens’ Future in KC: Report

Anthony Hitchens

Getty The Kansas City Chiefs have announced that they have released linebacker Anthony Hitchens (#53).

The first domino of the Kansas City Chiefs 2022 offseason fell on February 22 as the franchise announced they would be releasing linebacker Anthony Hitchens.

There was always the potential of the four-year starter becoming a cap casualty this offseason — assuming no trade partner could be found — and that prediction turned into a reality today.

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Chiefs Wish Hitchens Well in Statement

The Chiefs’ website released an official statement from GM Brett Veach on this decision.

“When I first became General Manager, one of the first moves I wanted to make was to bring in Anthony Hitchens from Dallas,” voiced Veach. “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. We appreciate everything he’s done for the organization and wish him the best as he continues his career.”

Head coach Andy Reid also chimed in with a few sentiments of his own: “I really enjoyed the opportunity to coach Anthony over the last four years. He’s as tough as they come in this league and is a team-first player. I appreciate the way he came to work, ready to do his part, but also his willingness to teach the younger guys around him.”

Hitchens accumulated “381 tackles (217 solo), 2.0 sacks (-31.0 yards), 17 tackles for loss, one interception and two forced fumbles” during his four-year tenure with the Chiefs. He started 59 regular-season games and 11 postseason ones, served as a team captain, and of course, earned a Super Bowl ring in 2019.

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Financial Details of Hitchens Release

According to Over the Cap, Kansas City was able to save $8.4 million in cap space by cutting ties with the veteran linebacker. That means Hitchens earned a grand total of $36.5 million with the Chiefs.

As we mentioned the other day, it didn’t make a difference if the franchise released him before or after June 1, so this move was always likely to happen sooner rather than later once the decision had been made.

Arrowhead Pride estimates that the front office now has between $11.4 and $11.8 million (“likely $11.7 million”) to work with after this transaction.

State of Linebacker Room

With respect to Hitchens, this was not unexpected. 2021 rookie Nick Bolton emerged as a very capable starting linebacker and considering Veach spent a second-round pick on Willie Gay Jr. the year before, they were well-covered to part ways with the vet.

The Chiefs may need to bring in some depth behind their top pairing though.

Ben Niemann and Dorian O’Daniel are currently unrestricted free agents so that leaves Darius Harris and Shilique Calhoun as the only true LBs on the roster behind Bolton and Gay. Even in a 4-3 front, that’s shallow.

Kansas City could continue to retool this unit through the draft in April or perhaps we’ll see a cheaper veteran signing that replaces Hitchens at a fraction of the cost. All options are on the table as the defensive overhaul is officially underway.


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