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A Look Around the AFC West After the Free Agency Frenzy

The Los Angeles Chargers have taken a quiet approach this offseason, how does that compare to their division rivals?

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With the free agent frenzy winding down, it is the perfect time to look around the AFC West to see how all the teams are fairing.

The Los Angeles Chargers have taken a backseat approach to the offseason thus far, while the rest of the division has made major splashes. Still, the Bolts are one right in the mix for their first division title since 2009.

On paper, the AFC West is wide open. The reigning division Champion Kansas City Chiefs are turning to 2017 first-round pick Patrick Mahomes to lead their offense. The Los Angeles Chargers are looking to find a kicker and return to the playoffs for the first time since 2013.

While the Oakland Raiders hired John Gruden to a massive contract and the Denver Broncos appear to be heading into the season with playoff hero Case Keenum. It wouldn’t shock anyone if the division came down to the final stretch of the season.

Los Angeles Chargers

Notable Additions: C Mike Pouncey, K Caleb Sturgis, TE Virgil Green

Notable Losses: G Kenny Wiggins, G/C Matt Slauson, DE Jerry Attaochu

The Chargers addressed two of their biggest needs in free agency. They found a reliable center in Mike Pouncey and hopefully an answer at kicker with Caleb Sturgis. Again, many Chargers fans are disappointed in the lack of action, but it doesn’t appear they will hamstring themselves down the road with a bad contract.

Los Angeles also didn’t lose any key contributors. Matt Slauson looked well past his prime last season, Kenny Wiggins is a fringe starter, and Jerry Attaochu barely dressed last season.

So far, this has been a plus offseason for the Chargers.

Denver Broncos

Notable Additions: QB Case Keenum, CB Tramaine Brock, OT Jared Veldheer, LB Todd Davis (re-signed)

Notable Losses: CB Aqib Talib, QB Trevor Siemian, WR Cody Latimer

Many expected the Broncos to be one of the frontrunners in the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes, but reports are that they never even offered him a contract.

Instead, Denver opted for Case Keenum to be their quarterback in 2018. They still hold the fifth overall pick in the Draft and can snag another quarterback early, but Keenum appears to be the guy at the moment.

As has been the case in the past, Denver is usually active in the offseason. General manager John Elway snagged his quarterback and veteran tackle Jared Veldheer. Most of the Broncos moves were in-house. They extended Demaryius Thomas, tendered Shaquil Barrett and re-signed middle linebacker Todd Davis.

Kansas City Chiefs

Notable Additions: WR Sammy Watkins, CB David Amerson, LB Anthony Hitchens

Notable Losses: G Zach Fulton, CB Terrance Mitchell, WR Albert Wilson, QB Alex Smith, DE Tamba Hali

The Chiefs broke the bank to add Sammy Watkins to their receiving corps to help out their young quarterback. Kansas City also bolstered their front seven with linebacker Anthony Hitchens. The Chiefs cut Tamba Hali, and will likely lose Derrick Johnson and Bennie Logan this offseason.

In terms of losses, the switch from Alex Smith to Pat Mahomes is to be determined. Kansas City decided to go with upside rather than the sure thing. The Chiefs will also be without wideout Albert Wilson and guard Zach Fulton next season.

Oakland Raiders

Notable Additions: WR Jordy Nelson, RB Doug Martin, LB Tahir Whitehead, S Marcus Gilchrist, DL Tank Carradine

Notable Losses: WR Michael Crabtree, CB Sean Smith, DL Denico Autry, CB T.J. Carrie

The Raiders made a ton of moves thus far. Gruden and company have added a plethora veterans as he looks to bring Oakland back into the postseason picture.

The additions of Jordy Nelson and Doug Martin seem to be a few years late, but with Derek Carr leading the offense, they may find short-term success in Oakland. The Raiders also plugged some holes on defense, Tahir Whitehead could fit nicely in a Raiders defense which needed reinforcements.


Where will the Chargers finish in the AFC West?

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