For the past few weeks, there have been loads of speculation and rumors on what is going to happen once the league year starts March 18. The media has discussed how will John Elway construct his team now that they found their quarterback, will the Chiefs be in a position to repeat next season, who will be the Chargers quarterback during the post-Philip Rivera era and what is the next step in Jon Gruden’s plan. But no one has talked about what teams shouldn’t do this offseason. It is important to note what teams shouldn’t do this offseason if they want to fulfill their mission of either becoming a playoff team/Super Bowl contender or start their rebuild correctly. This is a list of what AFC West teams shouldn’t do this offseason.
Denver Broncos: Not get help for Drew Lock
In Drew Lock’s five starts last season, the team went 4-1, and the only team they lost to was the eventual Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs. That is a pretty good way to start a career. Lock has developed a great relationship with number one receiver Courtland Sutton and starting tight end Noah Fant, but he is going to need more help than that. The Broncos are going to give Lock more help than that if they want to see him play at a high level. If the Broncos go sign big-name free agents with their $42 million in cap space, they might be a playoff team as soon as next season.
The biggest headline for the Broncos this offseason was going to be moving on from long-time Bronco and former All-Pro Chris Harris, but then the Broncos solved their void at corner by trading for AJ Bouye. Now they can move onto their needs on offense. There isn’t a huge hole on their offense but the Broncos should replace Connor McGovern at center who signed with the Jets, get a number two receiver opposite Courtand Sutton, upgrade the tackle position and get Philip Lindsay a change of pace partner because Royce Freeman is not that good.
The Broncos already added Graham Glasgow to replace Ron Leary, which is an upgrade at the position. If the Broncos don’t upgrade their offense they might not see the growth they want to see out of Drew Lock next year. After the Paxton Lynch experiment failed John Elway cannot mess up what he has going on with Drew Lock who looks like a future leader of this locker room and the future of the Denver Broncos.
Kansas City Chiefs: Not prioritize defense
The Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl 54 Champions! As long as Patrick Mahomes is at the helm, the Chiefs will be involved in the Super Bowl picture for the next few years. The Chiefs’ team was built on offense first.
Last offseason, the Chiefs gutted their defense moving on from fan favorites Justin Houston, Dee Ford and Eric Berry. The Chiefs also brought in Frank Clark and Tyrann Mathieu to be the faces and leaders on this defense. The transition worked, because the Chiefs’ defense was good enough to hold their opponents to a score that Patrick Mahomes was able to outscore. The Chiefs’ defense was instrumental in their Super Bowl run because in all three playoff games the Chiefs were losing late and the defense provided Patrick Mahomes the time to come back and win.
Kansas City’s defense can potentially be going through another transition this offseason. Their defense just lost their number one cornerback, Kendall Fuller, in free agency and are likely to trade franchise-tagged Chris Jones at some point. The Chiefs cannot overspend their available salary, considering they only have just over $19 million in cap room. But the Chiefs do need to add to this defense so that way they can stay in the Super Bowl picture for the next couple of years. The Chiefs need look to sign veterans who would explore signing for lower than market value in order to potentially win a Super Bowl. The Chiefs are an offensive first team, but they do need some defensive player to keep the score low enough for Patrick Mahomes and the offense to be able to beat out.
Las Vegas Raiders: Overthink quarterback
One season after trading away franchise centerpieces Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper, the Raiders retooled their defense via free agency and the draft under new general manager Mike Mayock. Rumors have now speculated that the Raiders are looking to make a change at quarterback, especially with their transition to Las Vegas. The Raiders current regime wants a flashier quarterback at the helm that will sell more tickets.
Derek Carr has not been bad at all, he had been solid especially with the hand he was dealt this past season. He threw 21 touchdowns and eight interceptions while throwing for the second-most yards of his career in a single season. This is impressive considering he was throwing to Tyrell Williams, Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller last season, players who are not known as household names. This is because Antonio Brown was supposed to be Carr’s best weapon, until he was released from the team early in the regular season. The Raiders are expected to bring in better receivers this offseason which would be great for Carr if he is the starter in 2020.
The Raiders are linked to a few quarterbacks in the draft. They have been connected to Jordan Love and Jalen Hurts who are going to be off the board early in the NFL Draft. The Raiders already signed Marcus Mariota to back up Carr. So the Raiders do not need to do anything else at quarterback. Carr is still a reliable quarterback that could win games for the Raiders next season. The Raiders should address the other major needs on their roster and really evaluate the quarterback options this year and next. Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden have arguably two of the most secure jobs in the league, because the Raiders have invested long term contracts in both of them. This means there is no heat to bring in a young quarterback this season if it isn’t necessary. The only reason the Raiders want to bring in a young quarterback is to sell more tickets in Las Vegas, not because they need an upgrade.
Los Angeles Chargers: Start the season with Tyrod Taylor as their Week One starter
After 16 years with the team, the Los Angeles Chargers and Philip Rivers are set to part ways. It is sad to see a quarterback leave a franchise after spending that many years with the team, especially when the quarterback isn’t ready to hang it up.
The Chargers are expected to be heavily involved in the quarterback market both in free agency and the draft. Cam Newton, Tua Tagovailoa, and Justin Herbert have all been connected to the Chargers early in the offseason.
Right now their listed starting quarterback is Tyrod Taylor. It seems like ages ago that Taylor was the underdog quarterback who brought the Buffalo Bills to the playoffs for the first time in 17 years. He was then traded to the Browns to ease the transition for Baker Mayfield into the league. Afterward, he signed with the Los Angeles Chargers and Anthony Lynn, whom he spent time with in Buffalo.
The Chargers have publicly commented that they are comfortable with Taylor as their starting quarterback in 2020. That was the correct statement made by the organization. Tom Telesco is a smart general manager and likely does not want to show his hand to other teams that they will try to get a new franchise quarterback this offseason, even though it is blatantly obvious. For the Chargers’ sake, they better not believe that Tyrod Taylor should be their 16-game starter next season, They are one year removed from going 12-4 and still have one of the most complete rosters in the NFL. With little to no starting level quarterbacks left the Chargers need to explore the trade market. Most quarterbacks would love to have the weapons the Chargers have on their roster in Keenan Allen, Mike Williams Hunter Henry, who was franchise tagged and Austin Ekeler who was just extended. Their offensive line has also been upgraded by switching out Russell Okung for Trai Turner. The Chargers also have an elite defense on paper adding Lival Joseph and Chris Harris to an extremely talented defense. They may have just extended their Super Bowl window, they need to take advantage of it this offseason.