Andy Reid’s team fell one game short of a third straight Super Bowl appearance. Are there big changes ahead for the Kansas City Chiefs?
After a 3-4 start, the Kansas City Chiefs rebounded to win eight straight and nine of their final 10 regular-season contests. It added up to a 12-5 record, a sixth straight AFC West title and a seventh consecutive trip to the postseason.
Andy Reid’s team put 42 points on the board in the wild card win over the Pittsburgh Steelers and seven days later vs. the Buffalo Bills (in overtime) in the divisional round. And they owned a 21-3 halftime lead over the visiting Bengals in the AFC Championship Game.
And then it all went wrong. Patrick Mahomes and company were limited to three points in what proved to be their final two-plus quarters of 2021. The 27-24 overtime loss denied the Chiefs a third straight Super Bowl appearance.
But the start of the 2022 NFL fiscal year (March 16) is less than a month away. So here are three performers who could be let go by the team over the next few weeks.
3. LB Anthony Hitchens
He was the 53rd-ranked linebacker in 2021 according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). Including playoffs, Kansas City’s Anthony Hitchens played and started in a total of 18 games this past season. That includes all three playoff contests.
During the regular season, he finished second on the team with 80 tackles (41 solo, 39 assists), to go along with one interception and two passes defensed. He totaled 17 stops (8 solo) and knocked down one pass in three postseason affairs.
There was a lot that went wrong for the Chiefs’ defense in 2021. And Hitchens could wind up on the outs if there’s a big-time overhaul.