Arrowhead Pride proposed that Hitchens could be a surprise cut this season. Could we actually see him on the move?
Hello again everyone and welcome to another week of the ArrowChop! This is the column where we look at the positives/negatives of a certain Chiefs/NFL issue and look at both sides of the aisle. Then you, the readers, will come to your conclusions after I lay out the case. So sit back, relax, and enjoy as we break down this week’s hot topic.
Throughout each season in the NFL, there will always be cuts or trades that surprise most people. For the Chiefs, we could quite possibly see one of our linebackers gone this offseason. Arrowhead Pride suggests that Anthony Hitchens could be a surprise cut this season. Hitchens, a seven-year veteran, has been with the Chiefs since signing with them in 2018 coming from the Cowboys; he has been solid at the MLB spot.
Could we see Anthony Hitchens on the move before or during the season? Let’s break down both sides of the aisle to find out:
Hitchens will be on the move
This side believes so as such:
Firstly, if Bolton develops into the linebacker the Chiefs want, they could get some good trade value from teams desperately needing a solid starting linebacker. Teams like the Bengals, who have no solidified linebacker, or the Eagles, who had a decimated linebacking core last season, could be in use of Hitchens’s talents. With his contract, I could see him being traded second round or a few picks that include a mid-rounder. Veach is a solid drafter, so he’d be able to utilize those picks well.
Secondly, the Chiefs will save some money if they decide to move on from Hitchens. This will only happen if Bolton has a superior start to the season, though. If the Chiefs decide to release or trade him in 2021, the Chiefs will save $6.44 million. They could easily use this money to help with extending Tyran Mathieu, who is a valued asset to the Chiefs defense and organization.
Finally, since 2018, Hitchens has been on a downward trend. Ever since 135 tackle year in 2018, he has decreased astronomically to 88 in 2019 and 78 in 2020. His tackles for a loss dropped from seven in 2018 to four in 2019 and two in 2020. His pass coverage has stayed stagnant through 2019 and 2020, but it isn’t good by any means, allowing a 106.7 QB rating last season and a 77.4 completion percentage as well in 2020.
Hitchens won’t be on the move
This side believes so as such:
Firstly, moving away from Hitchens will hurt the Chiefs’ linebacking core, no matter if Bolton develops well or not. Hitchens isn’t the best linebacker in the league, however, he is still a solid linebacker that will come up when needed. He had a PFF grade of 50.0 last season, dead-center, and he had 78 total tackles with two tackles for a loss. Yes, we all wish his coverage stats were better (allowing a 77.4% completion percentage), but if he were to leave, one of the weakest cores of our defense would diminish rapidly without him.
Secondly, if he were to be cut or traded, the Chiefs won’t have much depth to fill up that gap. Sure, they may have Bolton that could fill up that hole, but Bolton would probably have to play as the Will (weak side) linebacker in 2021 to start. The Chiefs’ next in line to be MLB is none other than Ben Niemann. Niemann is far worse in coverage than Hitchens, a worse tackler, and a worse linebacker overall than him.
I get he can provide depth and experience in the Spagnuolo defensive system, but do you want Niemann out of all people starting as the MLB? Yeah, me neither.
Finally, without Hitchens, there would be a lack of leadership within the linebacking core. Besides Hitchens, no one else has true NFL experience, which means they are without a true leader unless someone steps up. Maybe Gay or even Bolton could take the reigns, but it wouldn’t be as effective as a linebacker with seven+ years and 90+ games under his belt as a starter.
Do you think Hitchens will be on the move this offseason or during the season? Leave a comment down below to join the discussion, and be sure to follow me on Twitter @HunterStanton8 and @ArrowheadLive. Thanks for reading, and have a fantastic day.