The Kansas City Chiefs are keeping the ball rolling.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that the team has agreed to terms on a contract with former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens. Rapoport notes that the deal will be worth $9 million per year, as the Chiefs have now officially begun the retooling of their defense.
After cutting veteran linebackers Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali, the Chiefs needed someone like Hitchens, who has played all three possible linebacker positions in the past to help fill the void. In Kansas City’s 3-4 defensive scheme, Hitchens will likely slot in as the main replacement for Johnson. While Kansas City still has a lot of work left to do on the defensive side of the ball, the signing of Hitchens is a solid start, and they will certainly make more transactions with quarterback Patrick Mahomes on a team-friendly, rookie-scale deal.
Hitchens will improve a Chiefs rushing defense that was statistically one of the worst in all of football last season. Hitchens is also regarded as a very good linebacker and coverage, as NFL Network notes that via Pro Football Focus data, Hitchens didn’t allow a single touchdown in 37 targets his way.
The 25-year-old Hitchens had 84 total tackles in 2017 for the Cowboys, deflecting two passes and forcing a fumble in 12 games of action, the first year of Hitchens’ career where he didn’t play every game.
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