Around the AFC West: Big offseason moves loom in the division

Feb 14, 2020, 6:29 AM

Tyrod Taylor...

(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Love is in the air on Valentine’s Day. Certainly, the NFL is getting a lot of love after the Super Bowl and football fans across the globe are getting ready for the NFL Draft. The next stop on the draft calendar is the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis that starts in 10 days.

This offseason is chock full of so many storylines – and many of the top stories have a connection to the Broncos division. The three main competitors for the Broncos are going to look much different in some cases when the 2020 season begins. This offseason will bring about those changes that must be monitored by the Broncos.

Let’s take a spin around the AFC West to see what the competition is up to.


Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs have one of the best quarterbacks in the league and they will be paying him a hefty contract very soon. Patrick Mahomes’ most-likely window for a contract extension is sometime after the NFL Draft, according to people I talk to around the building.

The Chiefs only have around $14 million in cap space at this time. That’s barely enough to pay for their 2020 draft class, let alone pay out a contract to Mahomes that pays him around $40 million annually.

Mahomes can basically write his own paycheck after winning Super Bowl LIV and earning MVP honors in the game. The price tag is likely to only go up – way up – if the Chiefs wait to get a deal done with the young superstar. The Chiefs have Mahomes under contract for two more seasons (he has a fifth-year option for 2021 season), but getting a deal done sooner rather than later would be wise. That time to get a deal done might be well after free agency and even after the 2020 NFL Draft.

Either way, Mahomes isn’t going anywhere. The Broncos are going to have to deal with this superstar for around the next decade.


Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders might be in the quarterback market this offseason. Their top target may be superstar Tom Brady, as he is likely to hit the open market for the first time in his career. The Patriots would avoid a $13.5 million cap hit if they are able to extend Brady before the March 18 deadline. Brady will not be able to negotiate with outside teams by that time, so we have a deadline for the Patriots to get a deal done.

No matter what happens with Brady, the Raiders offense may continue flowing through running back Josh Jacobs. In 2019, Jacobs was the highest-graded rookie running back in the league according to Pro Football Focus.

I don’t need advanced statistics to know that Jacobs is one of the best young running backs in the league today. Jacobs runs with a blend of power and speed, and he can grind down a defense as the game goes on. The AFC West is going to be filled with some high-flying offenses if the Chargers and Broncos score more points in 2020. The Raiders may be taking an “old school” approach with their offense.

Raiders head coach Jon Gruden loves veteran quarterbacks, and that’s one of the many reasons why Brady is high on their wish list. Any quarterback addition – or even sticking with Derek Carr – is not going to change the Raiders philosophy on offense.


Los Angeles Chargers

The Philip Rivers era is over with the Chargers after 16 seasons, and now the team is in the market for a new starting quarterback. Chargers quarterback Tyrod Taylor could earn the starting spot for the 2020 season, according to head coach Anthony Lynn.

“Tyrod Taylor is a heck of a quarterback,” Lynn told AM 570 LA Sports. “We couldn’t have a better backup right now, and now he has an opportunity to maybe step up into a starting role. I’ve had Tyrod before (in Buffalo), and I know what this young man brings to the table, in the passing game and the running game.”

For three seasons with the Bills (2015-17), Taylor put up good numbers as the starting quarterback. In each one of those seasons, Taylor had around 3,000 yards passing while also rushing for around 500 yards. He barely turns the ball over as a starter and can easily execute in the run-heavy offense that Lynn wants to put together.

The NFL has changed since Taylor was the starter. Mobile quarterbacks are en vogue in today’s NFL, and the Chargers might have a better starter already on the roster than some think. I still believe the Chargers will select a quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft, perhaps even in the first round. However, that doesn’t mean Taylor won’t get a chance to be the starter at least at the beginning of the 2020 season.


Mike McGlinchey...

Andrew Mason

What’s the deal with the Broncos’ false starts?

They're neither "false," nor "starts," as a comedian might say, but false starts were a very real problem for the Broncos in Chicago.

2 hours ago

Sean Payton...

Cecil Lammey

Is the Broncos Win over the Bears More Than a Win? Orange and Blue Today 10.02

In This Episode: Cecil Lammey and Andrew Mason discuss the latest news and notes for the Denver Broncos. Topics Include – how should you feel about the Broncos win over the Bears, a breakout performance from young defenders, more on the injury to Javonte Williams, plus more! Follow @CecilLammey

4 hours ago

Jonathon Cooper...

104.3 The Fan

Jonathon Cooper wins Shane Co.’s “Gem of the Week” against Bears

Trailing 28-21 in the fourth quarter, Nik Bonitto forced a fumble and Jonathon Cooper picked it up and rumbled 35 yards to the end zone

8 hours ago

Sean Payton...

Andrew Mason

Sean Payton explains why he had the sleeves cut off Sunday

As the Broncos' comeback got under way Sunday, Sean Payton had the sleeves on his jacket cut off. He explained why Monday.

8 hours ago

Russell Wilson...

Cecil Lammey

Russell Wilson shows that he’s still cool and calm under pressure

During the Broncos furious second-half rally against the Bears, their quarterback demonstrated the clutch gene that's made him a star

14 hours ago

Nik Bonitto...

Cecil Lammey

Youth was served in Broncos come-from-behind win over the Bears

A group of young players sparked Denver's improbable comeback at Chicago, leading the team to their first victory of the season

15 hours ago

Around the AFC West: Big offseason moves loom in the division