If the Kansas City Chiefs repeat as Super Bowl champs, the celebration could be short-lived for some players.
The 2021 offseason could be very different for the NFL as a whole, as more expensive and notable players could be cut in favor of less expensive players. With the potential to see the salary cap decrease, teams will be scrambling to build their rosters while staying under the cap. The Kansas City Chiefs will be no different, which means that some major changes could be in store.
For Chiefs Kingdom, that could mean that some current starters could be looking for a new team. Because of the uncertainty of the salary cap, there will certainly be some cost-cutting measures that will have to take place. The biggest question is just who might end up on the unfortunate end of those cuts. So, let’s take a look at some starters who might be cut in 2021.
KC Chiefs who could be cut in 2021 – Anthony Hitchens
Linebacker Anthony Hitchens entered the scene just after the exit of the Chiefs’ great linebacker, Derrick Johnson. While Hitchens hasn’t played to the level of Johnson, he has provided a decent level of consistency and leadership on the field.
The former Dallas Cowboy may not be one of the league’s standout linebackers, but he’s at least a Super Bowl champion now. And while he may get the chance to win another ring in Kansas City this season, that may be the last time fans will see him in a Chiefs uniform.
Cutting Hitchens could save a few million dollars against the cap and provide another young linebacker with the chance to prove himself. The Chiefs 2020 second-round pick, Willie Gay, has looked good so far in the limited opportunities the team has given him to play.
Gay looks fast and aggressive, but he’s likely being held back to keep the mental part of the game in step with his physical ability. With the potential that Hitchens could be gone in 2021, the young linebacker might become the new leader in that group.
Cutting a veteran like Hitchens becomes even a little more tricky based on who returns in 2021. Outside of Gay, the only other linebackers who have played a lot of meaningful snaps this season are Damien Wilson and Ben Niemann, both of whom are set to become free agents, so cutting Hitchens will impact that position even more. If they do in fact lose all three, they’ll once again need to emphasize the linebacker position in the draft.
This could really signal the changing of the guard at the position in Kansas City. Where the current linebackers have been just good enough to help the Chiefs win it all, a new generation of young linebackers could really inject some talent into the position. And while it may only save the Chiefs a few million to cut Hitchens, they may need that money to pay the incoming young talent.
Chiefs Kingdom can be thankful for Hitchens’ services over the last three seasons, but his time in Kansas City could likely come to an end in 2021.