Former Cowboys LB Anthony Hitchens eyeing return to Dallas
A former Dallas Cowboys linebacker is eyeing a return to Dallas after four years away from the team. Anthony Hitchens played four years with the Kansas City Chiefs but was a recent cap casualty for the organization. Dallas Morning News’s Calvin Watkins reported that the 29-year-old has a desire to return to Dallas for the 2022 season.
Hitchens was drafted by the Cowboys in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Iowa. After four years with Dallas, the linebacker headed to Kansas City on a five-year, $45 million deal in 2018 free agency. The Iowa product made a huge impact on the Chiefs. He started in 59 games, led the team in tackles in 2018 and 2019, and was a team captain in Kansas City for 2021.
The Chiefs released Hitchens at the end of February. This was likely due to the emergence of Nick Bolton and Willie Gay Jr. While Dallas would undoubtedly like to have a Super Bowl champion and veteran linebacker on the squad, the whole reason Kansas City let go of Hitchens was due to his lucrative contract. It’s unlikely that the Cowboys can find the capital to afford his contract.
However, the team certainly has a need at linebacker. Leighton Vander Esch is likely to exit the team in free agency and the Cowboys let go of Jaylon Smith last season. In 2021, COVID issues and injuries often left the Dallas linebacker corps incredibly thin. The defense certainly needs a talented and strong presence to complement standout rookie Micah Parsons.
After the Kansas City Chiefs cut linebacker Anthony Hitchens, the former Cowboys LB says he wants to return to Dallas
The former Chief was set to make a base salary of $7.8 million in 2022 before Kansas City opted to release him. It’s worth mentioning that if Dallas does sign Hitchens, the deal will not impact the organization’s 2023 compensatory picks. Hitchens could certainly be an important part of the offseason for Dallas. With DeMarcus Lawrence as a potential cap casualty and Randy Gregory’s future unknown with free agency, the Cowboys will certainly need pass rusher help if either of those names go.
If Lawrence and/or Gregory go, Parsons will likely lose the ability to be the Swiss Army knife he was in 2021. The rookie lined up at multiple defensive positions, but if two of the team’s biggest edge rushers are gone, Parsons will likely be forced to play as a pass rusher. Adding Hitchens would help give Parsons more versatility.
Hitchens is clearly a leader and a player who teams can count on. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid had this to say about him:
"“Anthony is 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.”"
The man is a good player and is well-liked. This decision will come down to whether signing him makes financial sense for Dallas.