Former Cowboys' LB Anthony Hitchens reportedly expected to sign with Chiefs

The Chiefs are adding some serious firepower on defense in free agency, reportedly signing former Cowboys' linebacker Anthony Hitchens. The deal is projected to be worth $9 million per year, a hefty price tag for the 2014 fourth-round pick.

It's a big move for the Chiefs, who have also reportedly agreed to terms with Sammy Watkins. After making the playoffs last year, they clearly desperately want to get over the hump. To do so, they've taken an unconventional approach. After trading outspoken cornerback Marcus Peters to the Rams, they addressed another concern.

Hitchens can move around in a 3-4 defense, something that a team like the Chiefs will value. He had 304 tackles and 3.5 sacks in his four seasons with the Cowboys. At only 25, he fills a void left by longtime favorites Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson, whom the Chiefs parted ways with after last season with both being in their mid-30s.

The deal will put a dent in the Chiefs' wallet, but it's worth the payoff. Hitchens is an excellent defensive player that can play in coverage as well as be an excellent run-stopper. Heading into free agency, Spotrac projected the Chiefs to have about $27 million in cap space. The deals to Watkins and Hitchens will put a serious dent in that, but it could leave room for one more move once free agency starts.

For the Chiefs, it's a big move for a team that's won its division each of the last two years. Clearly just winning the division isn't enough. For Andy Reid, it will also need to win some playoff games. Next year we're seeing a very different Chiefs' team on offense as well, as Patrick Mahomes is expected to take the reigns at quarterback after Alex Smith was traded to the Redskins. They'll still need to address the need at cornerback after the Peters trade, but this is a start for the new-look defense.

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