The latest news around the AFC West brings an interesting name to the Oakland Raiders while the Broncos are ready to lock up one of their stars.
The AFC West is making headlines on Tuesday for a couple main reasons: key player acquisitions or transactions that will make one team considerably better and, well, the Oakland Raiders continue to befuddle mostly everyone.
On Tuesday, news leaked that the Raiders had made a move to strengthen their offensive line with the signing of Richie Incognito, a veteran guard who hasn’t played in the NFL since 2017. The four-time Pro Bowler has proven himself as an above average to even great performer in years past, so there’s some on-field merit, to the signing, but recent incidents as well as the Raiders own roster moves make little sense overall in this case.
Incognito could face a suspension when rejoining the league given that he was just arrested last August for disorderly conduct, after damaging property and threatening staff at a funeral home. Incognito is certainly no stranger to troubling, even criminal, behavior. Just three months prior to that, in May of 2018, police were called to a gym where Incognito was throwing weights at another patron. Of course, there’s the whole bullying controversy with the Miami Dolphins, and he was even voted the NFL’s dirtiest player in 2009, years before any of this surfaced.
What’s interesting about all of this is that the Raiders essentially traded a Pro Bowl guard earlier this offseason for pennies on the dollar in Keleche Osemele. They shipped Osemele to the New York Jets for the chance to move up from the sixth to the fifth round. While Osemele was pricey, he was also a proven performer along a front line known for his toughness. Seems a silly swap, but explaining the Raiders most days is an impossible task. Overall it’s a bit of roster mismanagement that Chiefs fans love to see, and it’s likely why the Raiders will remain in the divisional basement.
On the flip side, the Denver Broncos and cornerback Chris Harris have reportedly solved whatever impasse they’d reached this offseason with word that a new contract is coming for the Pro Bowler as soon as Tuesday. The Broncos are still holding onto the Super Bowl defense they had a few years ago, but that’s good new for any playoff hopefuls in Denver, given the high caliber of play that Harris is still capable of. Harris will return to join veteran signing Kareem Jackson on the outside.
For those hoping Harris would slip away from John Elway and the Broncos, this is bad news for a team like the Chiefs. Denver is always going to play Kansas City close on most days and Harris is the best pass defender on the team by a country mile. The rift between Harris and Denver was once very pronounced, and the thought of Jackson and prospects like Isaac Yiadom being responsible to make up for the loss was a nice thought.
As for the L.A. Chargers, the attitude around Joey Bosa is all positive as he prepares for another season, but further quotes when asked about his injured foot from last season should be a bit concerning for Bolts fans. Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley says Bosa “looks awesome,” but Bosa later admitted the following:
"“It’s not causing a limp or anything,” he said. “It’s just there. It’s just something I notice. It’s been getting better all offseason, so I could definitely see by camp or maybe even next year where it kind of starts fading away. Once you get into season, it gets pretty intense, so we’ll see.”"
If Bosa is limited in any way, it relieves some serious pressure on Kansas City’s bookends, Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz, and also allows for further defensive focus on the team’s other primary pass rusher, Melvin Ingram. This year, the Chargers will hope that first round pick Jerry Tillery, a disruptive lineman from Notre Dame, can help fill push the pocket and keep a quarterback like Patrick Mahomes from having too much time to make a play.