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Cowboys news: Anthony Hitchens to Chiefs, Kirk Cousins expected to sign with the Vikings

The Wednesday morning links.

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NFL: Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys free agency rumor tracker: News, signings, cuts and more - Dave Halprin, BTB

Want all of the latest surrounding the Cowboys and free agent news? Dave has you covered!

March 13: Rumors that the Cowboys were considering signing Sammy Watkins, possibly as a replacement to Dez Bryant, shake up the Cowboys wide receiver situation.

March 13: Looks like Anthony Hitchens is headed to Kansas City.

March 12: Orlando Scandrick requests his release from the team

March 11: Cowboys re-sign ERFA Brian Price

March 7: Cowboys release defensive end Benson Mayowa and defensive tackle Joe Vellano

Chiefs to sign former Cowboys LB Anthony Hitchens - Kevin Patra,

News broke early Tuesday morning that Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens will sign with the Kansas City Chiefs. While there were rumors of the linebacker leaving town, there was still a slimmer of hope that maybe things could work out. In the end, Hitchens will now be playing in the AFC.

The Kansas City Chiefs paying huge money for Sammy Watkins likely led to one response from some fans: But what about the struggling defense?

We have a response: Anthony Hitchens.

The Chiefs plan to sign the former Dallas Cowboys linebacker to a deal worth $9 million per season, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday morning, according to sources informed of the move. He was ranked No. 50 in’s Top 101 Free Agents of 2018.

Replacing Anthony Hitchens will be difficult but Cowboys couldn’t pay price - Todd Archer, ESPN

$9 million/year was too much for the Cowboys to swallow. Now, how will they replace their former linebacker?

So now what do the Cowboys do without Hitchens?

Jaylon Smith is the on-campus answer at the moment, but the spot could become a higher priority in the draft, meaning top 2-3 rounds.

The Cowboys might not have the luxury to keep Smith on a pitch count if they play him at middle linebacker. They could give him time at strongside linebacker and maybe even ask him to rush the passer, which was a strength at Notre Dame.

Replacing Hitchens won’t be easy but paying him $9 million a season wasn’t the answer either.

Cowboys 2018 free agency: Was Sammy Watkins going to be a Dez Bryant replacement? - RJ Ochoa, BTB

Despite not making a splash on Tuesday, it turns out that the Cowboys were actually interested in a pair of receivers. What does this mean for Dez Bryant?

Among the other big moves (at this moment) are Sammy Watkins agreeing to terms with the Kansas City Chiefs and Allen Robinson doing so with the Chicago Bears. These are the two biggest wide receivers on the market, and the Cowboys have had a question about Dez Bryant.

Why does this involve Dallas? Because multiple resources have reported that the Cowboys were interested in both free agent receivers, especially Sammy Watkins.

Will things change now that Dallas has shown interest in a theoretical Dez replacement?

The possibility that Dez Bryant could be released is still real, but it’s just as possible that he stays. What’s apparent now more than ever is that the Cowboys might actually be settling for Dez, at least in their own eyes.

The 1 Player Every NFL Team Should Sign This Offseason - Zach Kruse, Bleacher Report

Could the Cowboys fix the interior of the defensive line in free agency? With this potential signing, it could happen.

Dallas Cowboys: DL Bennie Logan

If the Cowboys got defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, that would create a much bigger splash, but signing Bennie Logan might be the better, more realistic option.

Logan shouldn’t break the bank, and he’d give the Cowboys a legitimate run-stuffer to plug into the middle of the defensive line. He eats up blocks, freeing up linebackers to make plays, and he can use leverage and power to win one-on-one opportunities.

The Cowboys need to add a player along the defensive line, but they probably can’t afford to get too aggressive in chasing the biggest free agents. Signing Logan to a modest deal accomplishes the goal without a massive financial commitment

Kirk Cousins plans to sign 3-year, $84M deal with Vikings - ESPN

When the Redskins traded for quarterback Alex Smith, it became clear that Kirk Cousins would soon be leaving the NFC East. Now, it appears that Cousins will be signing with the 2018 NFC runner-ups.

Former Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins plans to sign a three-year, fully guaranteed $84 million contract with the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday, sources tell ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The landmark deal will make Cousins the highest-paid quarterback in the league.

”No final decisions have been made,” Cousins’ agent, Mike McCartney, said Tuesday. “The plan is to visit Minnesota first. That’s all we can say right now.”

Dallas Cowboys offseason checklist: Seven steps to make it back to the playoffs - Jared Dubin, CBS Sports

Could restructuring Travis Frederick’s contract get the Cowboys closer another playoff berth?

Restructure Travis Frederick’s contract (but not Tyron Smith’s)

The Cowboys essentially built yearly restructures into Frederick’s contract by artificially lowering his future base salaries. They clearly intend to restructure this contract in order to lower his base salary (and thus his cap hit) this season and guarantee him greater payouts in the future. Given his enviable combination of consistent excellence and durability -- like Martin, Frederick has played and started every game of his career and has made the Pro Bowl in each of the last four seasons; he’s also been an All-Pro three times -- the Cowboys should be fully confident that he will be a stalwart in the middle of their line for years to come. Dallas can re-do Frederick’s deal this offseason to knock his cap hit down to around $6 million, creating an additional $7.235 million in space.

Cowboys’ priorities: Zack Martin’s extension, speed receiver - Todd Archer, ESPN

Two of the Cowboys’ biggest offseason priories include extending Zack Martin and finding a speedy wideout in either free agency or the draft.

Get ahead of the 2019 market: Since the Cowboys took care of their top priority last week by putting the franchise tag on defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, they have to sign Pro Bowl right guard Zack Martin to an extension. Martin is set to play this season on the fifth-year option, but that doesn’t mean the Cowboys should wait to get a deal done. The price will only go up next year for Martin, who has made the Pro Bowl in each of his first four seasons. He should be the highest-paid guard in the NFL, which would also make him the highest-paid offensive linemen on the Cowboys’ roster. Without a new deal for Lawrence by mid-July, the Cowboys could find themselves losing Martin or Lawrence to free agency in 2019.

Andrew Norwell’s contract should set floor for Zack Martin’s Cowboy deal - Todd Archer, ESPN

Panthers guard Andrew Norwell signed a five-year, $66.5 million deal ($30 million guaranteed) with the Jaguars on Tuesday. How does that affect the Cowboys and their All-Pro offensive guard?

Martin has been everything the Cowboys could have dreamed since they selected him with the No. 14 pick in 2014. Remember all of the Johnny Manziel nonsense at the time of the draft? Martin has made the Pro Bowl in each of his first four seasons. He has made first- or second-team All Pro in all four of his seasons. He has not missed a game in his four seasons. He has hardly even missed a practice as well.

The price will only go up for Martin. A year ago Kevin Zeitler signed a free-agent deal with the Cleveland Browns worth $12 million annually. Norwell’s deal tops that, but the guarantee is a little less. The Cowboys can surpass Norwell’s average per year and Zeitler’s guarantee and still be in good shape against the cap in 2018 and beyond.

When the consolation prize becomes a preference: Cowboys defensive tackle targets - Jeff Cavanaugh, The Athletic DFW (subscription)

Who are some defensive tackles — besides Vita Vea and Daron Payne — to know? Cavanaugh has some named to know.

Deadrin Senat – DT – South Florida

This is one of my guys. He had six sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss last year at USF. When Stephen Jones talked about drafting defensive tackles he said he wouldn’t use a first-round pick on a ‘one technique’ unless he has some ‘three technique’ traits. Senat has that.

Senat is more than just a strong guy at the point of attack. He’s the big guy that also has some initial quickness to penetrate. One of the things that I notice with big defensive lineman is whether they are finishers. Senat is a finisher.

What’s the biggest mistake the Cowboys could make in the first round of the draft? - Dane Brugler, SportsDay

There are some fans who want the Cowboys to trade back this April. Dane Brugler isn’t so sure that such a decision is the best choice.

What’s the biggest mistake the Cowboys could make in the first round of the draft?

Brugler: Trading back and not getting proper value. I know that seemed to work out in 2013 when they traded back for Travis Frederick, but more times than not, it won’t work out that positively. There will be good players at No. 19. If they look to trade back, get proper value.