A jersey with Manning and the #18 is brought into the Broncos team meeting room. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
I'll say this once: If you are not terrified of the Broncos, you are delusional.
You can't just sit back and say "Peyton Manning is still injured!" without proof. Actually, the number of teams that were abandoning their starting QB for a chance to woo Peyton is proof that he's probably passed every test thrown at his neck thusfar. If Peyton is 80% of the QB that he was two seasons ago with the Colts, Denver just upgraded to a Top 5 offense. In case Peyton wasn't enough on his own to do that (and he is), they are signing receivers for him like gangbusters (Joel Dreessen and Andre Caldwell).
Oh, and lest we forget Denver's overwhelmingly awesome pass rush. Von Miller is only going to get better and Elvis Dumervil is only going to get healthier. They also, hilariously, added Tracy Porter to their defense yesterday. Porter, for those who forget, picked off Manning to clinch a Saints Super Bowl victory a few years back.
The other two non-Chargers teams in the AFC West are covered after the jump.
The Chiefs, Chargers and Broncos are all having tremendous offseasons. The Chargers plugged their holes, the Broncos fixed their most glaring issue (QB), and the Chiefs quietly added solid players and good depth while waiting for their stars to return from injury.
Peyton Hillis was signed to split carries with the returning Jamaal Charles, which is a large upgrade from Thomas Jones or Jackie Battle. Kevin Boss, thought of as a start-level TE, was signed to be the 2nd TE behind the returning Tony Moeaki. Brady Quinn was brought in as a younger Kyle Orton to backup Matt Cassel, which means they've all but given up on Ricky Stanzi (sad face), and Eric Winston was signed after being released by the Houston Texans to be a starting Tackle.
Those are all solid moves, but they're all on the offensive side of the ball. The returning Eric Berry will help the defense a bunch, but losing CB Brandon Carr will hurt it nearly as much. Expect the Chiefs to draft lots of defense.
Signed: Jovan Belcher (re-sign), Kevin Boss, Peyton Hillis, Brady Quinn, Eric Winston
Another offseason, another new Head Coach, and another year of rebuilding and optimism in Oakland. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
The Raiders, who are aiming to become Packers West, seem content to build almost entirely through the draft in the coming years. At least that what it seems like based on what they've done in free agency thus far, which is very little. The two most notable signings for Oakland thusfar have been CB Shawntae Spencer, who was released by the 49ers for being not very good, and CB Pat Lee, who is more of a mediocre kick returner than he is a Cornerback.