The Kansas City Chiefs have started to gear up for the 2022 NFL season.
While they can’t sign free agents or current players to contract extensions yet, they are already freeing up cap space money by making a bittersweet decision.
Chiefs have released LB Anthony Hitchens.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 22, 2022
NFL insider Adam Schefter reported that the Chiefs have released linebacker Anthony Hitchens.
The 29-year-old defensive stalwart joined Kansas City as a free agent in 2018 after spending his first four seasons with the Dallas Cowboys.
He came at the right time as the Chiefs won Super Bowl LIV against the San Francisco 49ers a year later.
Hitchens had a career-high 135 tackles during his first season with the Chiefs while serving as the defense’s captain.
In 2019, he had 88 tackles and two sacks.
Hitchens will command much attention as a free agent due to his talent and leadership capability.
Why Did The Chiefs Release Hitchens?
There are two reasons the Chiefs can afford to let him walk away.
First, the team wants to remain competitive by shedding some salaries to free up cap space.
Hitchens was due for $12.6 million in 2022, but cutting him saved the team $8.4 million.
Subtracting his worth for next season gives Kansas City around $11 million in cap space based on the projected 2022 salary ceiling.
Second, Nick Bolton showed that he is ready to take the mantle from Hitchens.
He performed well during crucial stretches of the season, making Hitchens expendable.
However, his departure means that the Chiefs must name a new captain on defense.
Still, the front office needs to continuously tinker with their structure on defense because they had one of the lowest sack totals during the regular season.
If they can address that matter, the Chiefs will remain contenders for the foreseeable future.