The Dallas Cowboys have several key defenders among the 2018 free agent pool. One of them is linebacker Anthony Hitchens, who has started the majority of games since he entered the league four years ago. Will he be playing for a new team next season?
After DeMarcus Lawrence got the franchise tag and David Irving gets his likely restricted free agent tender, Hitchens is the biggest name among the remaining free agents. He has been solid going back to his rookie season, when he had to start 11 games due to injuries and other issues with Sean Lee and Rolando McClain.
His rookie deal now expired, and one that only paid him $3.76 million over his career so far, Anthony Hitchens is certainly looking to get paid. Unfortunately, it's unlikely that a big contract will come from the Cowboys.
Hitchens is not a standout in coverage, which limits his appeal as an every-down linebacker and a guy you want to pay big money. The Cowboys already have a lot tied up in Sean Lee and are hoping Jaylon Smith will take on a larger role next year. They also have Damien Wilson back for at least one more season, which should fill out their starting lineup.
This isn't to say that Dallas wouldn't like to have Hitchens back. He's reliable and can play all three spots. But the Cowboys are too cap-strapped to give him what he's earned and what he can probably get from the open market.
One likely scenario where Anthony leaves Dallas is thanks to his former linebackers coach, Matt Eberflus, who is now the defensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts. The connection is already being made between the two by those who cover the Colts, and a signing is already expected by many.
With Eberflus expected to move the Colts to a 4-3 scheme, bringing in a middle linebacker who knows your system and can help teammates learn makes a lot of sense. It also helps that Hitchens will still be just 26 when the season starts.
While he's never put up gaudy stats with the Cowboys, Anthony has also always been in the shadow of Sean Lee and three years of Barry Church. There are only so many tackles to go around. Nobody knows this better than his former position coach.
Of course, the Hitchens-Colts scenario is just speculation at this point. Hitchens is an Ohio native and might like to go to Cincinnati or Cleveland if offered. There are plenty of other franchises who could use a solid starting linebacker, too.
If Hitchens doesn't find a new home in free agency, it's entirely plausible that he would come back to Dallas. The Cowboys would then have all the leverage and could get him on a bargain.
However, it certainly looks like there will be a market for Anthony Hitchens when activity begins next week. Barring a surprise, his future is elsewhere.
Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for 2018
Continuity is the key to good special teams play in the NFL. Already losing long-time Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia to the Raiders - who promptly snatched ST aces Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber in free agency - the Dallas Cowboys have announced their intentions to re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for the 2018 season.
Returning on a one-year deal, the fan favorite Ladouceur will be back to do what he does best in cleanly executing almost every special teams snap for Chris Jones or Dan Bailey to handle.
Long snapper L.P. Ladouceur will re-sign with the Cowboys on Monday, according to sources, on a one-year deal. He will be in his 14th season with the franchise. Only Jason Witten, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Bill Bates and Mark Tuinei will have more years of... https://t.co/yTQbMYyrIv
While Jones has improved as the Cowboys' punter with each passing season, Kicker Dan Bailey actually enters 2018 as another question mark on this unit. With the general belief around the team being that Bailey will be just fine moving forward, the Cowboys will no longer have to worry about who handles long snaps next year either.
L.P. Ladouceur is back in the silver and blue, and in this moment, everything can be alright with the world.
Report: Raiders Sign Former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber
A Free Agency period filled with departures continued for the Dallas Cowboys today, as the Oakland Raiders have reportedly signed the now-former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber.
The Raiders have signed LB Kyle Wilber: https://t.co/TaC6cqjval
Wilber has been with the Cowboys since 2012, and has played in all 16 games four of the past five seasons. Most of his time has come on special teams, but he did provide solid linebacker depth for the Cowboys since joining the team.
Dallas has now lost both Wilber and Anthony Hitchens, depleting their linebacker depth even further over the last couple weeks.
The Raiders have now signed two key special teams contributors for the Cowboys in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber this offseason. Hopefully Dallas can replace these types of "replacement level" players throughout the rest of the offseason, especially during the NFL Draft.
Report: Cowboys Officially Release CB Orlando Scandrick
After requesting his release from the team just a few days ago, Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick has gotten his wish. According to ESPN's Josina Anderson, Scandrick has officially been cut by the Dallas Cowboys.
I'm told the #Cowboys have informed CB Orlando Scandrick he will be released, per source.
This move will reportedly save the Cowboys roughly $1.4M against the salary cap, as we hope they finally look to make some moves during the Free Agency period.
Scandrick's release comes after an offseason in which the Cowboys totally overhauled the back end of their defense, specifically their cornerbacks. With the emergence of young, promising players such as Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis, and the health issues of the aging Scandrick, the move makes a lot of sense.
In fact, after the Cowboys drafted Awuzie in the second round of last year's draft it was rumored the Cowboys were looking to move Scandrick for extra draft picks. Instead, one year later, they have cut him to save some cap room.
Orlando Scandrick should have a market to find a new team elsewhere, but his time in Dallas has now come to a close.
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