There are still a few days before the 2019 NFL league year opens and the free-agent signing period starts, but teams in the AFC West are already making some waves.
The Oakland Raiders, Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs all have their eyes on the prize next season. Of course, the Raiders made the biggest splash so far by trading a third-round and fifth-round pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers in order to grab Antonio Brown, arguably the best wide receiver in football.
Here’s what the Chargers’ rivals have done this offseason.
Traded for Joe Flacco: Of course, this move won’t be made official until the start of the new league year, but it was reported weeks ago that the Broncos will trade for Joe Flacco. Evidently, John Elway sees that as an improvement over Case Keenum, who will be traded to the Washington Redskins.
Flacco has a 3-2 all-time record against the Chargers. He was on the bench for both meetings between the teams last season.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs made a minor move by signing wide receiver Sammie Coates along with placing the franchise tag on Dee Ford, who could still move on as reports indicate more than one team is interested in him.
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On Saturday, the Chiefs signed running back Carlos Hyde. Pushed out of Cleveland and a complete afterthought with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Hyde could become a force in Kansas City on a team that needed depth at running back.
Before being traded by the Browns last season, Hyde rushed for 382 yards and five touchdowns in six games. He was given just 58 rush attempts in eight games as a member of the Jaguars. The Chiefs signed him just one day after he was cut by Jacksonville.
Hyde ranks 15th on the San Francisco 49ers’ all-time rushing list.
Traded for Antonio Brown: The only big move the Raiders have made this offseason, but it’s the biggest any team in the league has made.
To get behind the logic of trading away Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack only to go and trade for Brown is a bit puzzling, but you can’t argue with what the Raiders gave up to get him. Brown has also agreed to a restructured three-year, $50.1 million contract/
Derek Carr will now be throwing to the best wide receiver in football and the Raiders still have three first-round picks in the upcoming draft.
What this means for the Chargers
Until free agency and the draft are complete, it’s tough to forecast the entire AFC West division. However, you can also say that due to the moves they’ve already made, all three of these teams have a chance to be better than they were last season.
In the case of the Chiefs, who made it to the AFC Championship Game, that’s a bit daunting.
The Raiders should be able to challenge the Chargers’ secondary with their new wide receiver. In three career games against the Chargers, Brown has caught 28 passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns.
Will it work for the Chargers to maintain the status quo or does Tom Telesco need to do something unconventional to be ready to play these teams two times apiece?