Let’s take a look around the AFC West after the Las Vegas Raiders, Denver Broncos, and Los Angeles Chargers have made moves to combat Patrick Mahomes.
It’s been a while since we’ve taken a look around the AFC West at our divisional foes and it seems to me that this might be the perfect opportunity to check in. We’ve all got a lot on our minds with the world seemingly ending, so let’s all just take a few minutes and forget about the fact that there is literally nothing sports-related to watch right now. Let’s take a trip around the AFC West to check on our divisional foes after one week of free agency.
Las Vegas Raiders
Well that was weird to write; the Raiders have officially moved to Las Vegas. I am actually considering a trip there to catch a game—again, assuming the world doesn’t end. I think it would be a great experience, and I would have a lesser chance of a shanking than in Oakland.
The Raiders have been quite active this offseason as they look to keep up with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. It was clear last season that their defense needed help (although injuries contributed) if they want to remain competitive in the division that looks to be dominated for the next 15 years by the Super Bowl MVP.
One of the more notable moves (apart from the actual physical location of the franchise) was the signing of Marcus Mariota. Mariota was benched by the Titans last year in favor of Ryan Tannehill. He definitely has the physical attributes to be a great quarterback, but there is something lacking mentally. The question is whether Jon Gruden thinks he can exorcise those demons or whether Mariota will be a reliable backup for Derek Carr.
Additionally, the Raiders signed the aging Jason Witten. Being married to a Cowboys fan, I can’t tell you how many times I have had to hear him scream “WITTEN” at the television screen anytime he does anything. It also means I have watched a lot of Witten. He’s old. This feels like a signing that Gruden wanted 10 years ago and finally got the chance. I don’t think this will have a big impact on the Raiders overall.
To bolster their defense, the Raiders made a flurry of moves adding cornerback Eli Apple, defensive end Carl Nassib, safety Jeff Heath, defensive tackle Maliek Collins, linebacker Cory Littleton, and linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski. The Raiders are certainly needing to add to their defensive talent given who they face twice a year (hint: it’s Patrick Mahomes). I think a lot of the moves the Raiders made are pretty great. If they can add to these free agency signings with a solid draft, the Raiders may just make a splash in the AFC.