The Dallas Cowboys have a few tough decisions to make this off-season.
All the talk about DeMarcus Lawrence and his free agency has overshadowed the same thing for Anthony Hitchens in 2018. Hitchens is just as important as Lawrence this off-season, but in a different way.
Lawrence gets all the credit for top free agent because of him being a pass rusher. Elite pass rushers, especially on the edge don’t come along very often. However, starting linebacker is just as important, especially for a team that lacked much depth at the position in 2017.
With Sean Lee out of the lineup, Dallas struggled mightily without their defensive leader. Take Hitchens out of the lineup and you are staring disaster directly in the eye.
How important is Hitchens returning to the Cowboys?
The Cowboys have said that Hitchens returning to the team is an important business plan for this off-season. His importance on defense was seen over the last couple years, especially with Lee out of the lineup. They might not be the same defense without Lee in there, but at least Hitchens can put players in the right positions.
With Lee and Hitchens in the lineup together, Dallas plays better than most would believe. This shows how good of a player Hitchens truly is. With the health issue that these linebackers have, Lawrence in my eyes is a must for Dallas to sign this off-season.
We know Lee has had difficulties staying on the field. Add that to Jaylon Smith and the uncertainty of his nerve issue, and we might be looking at a very thin group there. Linebacker is not a position you want to slide by with, you need talent and depth at the position. Hitchens gives Dallas both.
I wouldn’t stop with Hitchens this off-season. I would make it a point to sign another player or two at linebacker, while using a high draft pick on the position as well.
How important is signing Hitchens long-term for this Cowboys team?