The AFC West transitioned into one of the tougher division in the AFC after sending three teams to the playoffs last season, and all look to improve in 2014. Let's take a look at what some of our rivals have been up to so far.
The Broncos had themselves quite a day the first day of free-agency. Coming off a tough loss in the Super Bowl against the Seattle Seahawks, their focus this off-season is improving the defense with the prolific year the offense had.
With Eric Decker becoming a free agent, the team re-signed their 4th option Andre Caldwell, but lost Zane Beadles to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Later in the day, reports came out that the Broncos landed T.J. Ward, the hard-hitting pro-bowl safety for the Cleveland Browns. They also added Aqib Talib, former CB for the Patriots and another physical presence, later in the evening.
Their secondary will look dramatically different next year with Champ Bailey gone, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie presumably gone as well. With reports of DeMarcus Ware visiting Denver on Wednesday, it looks as though the Broncos emphasis on improving their defense is making them big spenders the first few days of free-agency.
The Chiefs had a remarkable turnaround last season, going from 2-14 to a 11-5 in one year. But with such a turnaround, also came the depletion of their roster with players on the last year of their contracts making an impact, and signing elsewhere once free-agency began.
Within the first 90 minutes of the new league year, the Chiefs had already lost five free agents. Dexter McCluster signed with the Titans and Branden Albert went to the Dolphins, while Tyson Jackson and Jon Asamoah signed with the Falcons. Geoff Schwartz signed with the Giants, which now leaves the Chiefs with many questions regarding their offensive line for next year. Akeem Jordan is also a free agent, and could be the next one out the door.
With all these players leaving, and the team yet to sign a player, it seems as though the Chiefs are going to have a lot of work ahead of them if they look to repeat on the success of last year.
The Raiders are the most intriguing team in this division. They were the odd-man-out last year, as they were the only team in the AFC West to not make the play-offs (not that 4 teams would make it), and have some free-agents of their own with a lot of cap-space going into next season.
Quickly after free-agency began, the Raiders lost two impact players, Jared Veldheer going to the Cardinals and Lamarr Houston heading to the Bears. The team also lost RB Rashad Jennings to the Giants, however re-signed Darren McFadden to a one year deal.
They did sign Rodger Saffold (St. Louis Rams) and Austin Howard (New York Jets), however, they ended up paying more for Saffold than Valdheer got from Arizona, even tough Valdheer is graded higher. They are reportedly in the running for Darrell Revis, however so are the Browns and Patriots.
The Raiders still have a lot of cap room, but it seems that they have even more questions after losing these players, and will need a lot of help to be able to compete against the other teams in this division.
The Chargers were team that exceeded expectations last season, sneaking into the playoffs, and winning against the Bengals, only to lose to the Broncos in the divisional round.
Coming into the off-season, the team's biggest need was re-signing their own players, which they did, before the start of free-agency (Donald Butler, Darrell Stuckey, and Chad Rinehart). The team also reworked the contracts of Jarret Johnson and Eddie Royal, along with cutting ties with CB's Derek Cox and Johnny Patrick, as well as FB Le'Ron McClain.
San Diego made news the first day of free-agency, signing former Colts RB Donald Brown, adding depth and security behind Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead, who are both free agents next year. They also have a visit scheduled with Kavell Conner, former linebacker for the Indianapolis Colts.
With a small amount of cap-space to work with, it looks as though Chargers GM Tom Telesco will take a wait-and-see approach to fill out the depth on this roster, and build this team through the draft, as he proclaimed he would when he came to San Diego last year. Look for the Chargers to add players in the coming days, once all the big names have signed, as Telesco looks to find value in the all remaining unsigned players.