After a magical two-year run, the Chiefs’ 2020 season ended with an emphatic thud in Tremendous Bowl LV. With Patrick Mahomes doing his finest Fran Tarkenton impression, the Chiefs fought however finally fell extremely quick of their quest to efficiently defend their title.
Kansas Metropolis’s 31-9 loss to the Buccaneers showcased the areas the Chiefs must strengthen this offseason. The Chiefs won’t solely look to turn into the fourth staff to play in three straight Tremendous Bowls, they can even vie for his or her sixth consecutive AFC West division title in 2021. However not like current years, the Chiefs will face a way more difficult division. The Raiders began 6-3 final season earlier than a late-season swoon stored them out of the playoffs. Offensive Rookie of the Yr Justin Herbert and the Chargers closed out 2020 with 4 consecutive wins. Denver will look to rebound following one other rocky season that noticed Von Miller miss the whole yr with an damage.
The 2021 offseason will probably be an essential one for every AFC West staff. And with free company and the NFL draft simply across the nook, we determined to evaluation every AFC West groups’ wants whereas providing a preview of what they may do over the subsequent a number of months.
[Note: Cap space figures provided by Spotrac, and will change once official salary cap is finalized for 2021.]
Wants: G, OT, CB, EDGE, WR, DT
The Chiefs could have to exchange three starters on their offensive line this offseason. Kansas Metropolis might also should replenish its receiving corps if Demarcus Robinson and Sammy Watkins depart in free company. Attainable defensive departures this offseason embrace defensive finish Tanoh Kpassagnon, linebacker Damien Wilson, free security Daniel Sorensen, and cornerback Bashaud Breeland.
The Chiefs’ cap scenario will power them to deal with most of those wants by way of the draft. Whereas they’ll doubtless handle their offensive and defensive traces throughout the first few rounds, Kansas Metropolis will definitely use some picks to deal with its secondary and receiver positions. One title to observe is receiver Tylan Wallace, who flourished in Oklahoma State’s wide-open offense.
Estimated present cap house (high 51): -$18.1 million
CBS draft projections: DT Daviyon Nixon (Ryan Wilson), OL Jackson Carman (Chris Trapasso), LB Nick Bolton (Josh Edwards)
Free brokers to observe: G Tom Compton, CB William Jackson, DE Ronald Blair, WR Damiere Byrd
Wants: G, WR, CB, EDGE, DT
Whereas Henry Ruggs III, Hunter Renfrow and Bryan Edwards will probably be again, the Raiders could have to exchange soon-to-be free agent receivers Nelson Agholor and Zay Jones. The Raiders are additionally reportedly planning to launch Tyrell Williams initially of the league’s new yr. Given these losses, the Raiders will undoubtedly choose a receiver throughout the draft — the one query is when. That might be as early as the primary spherical if Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith continues to be obtainable with the seventeenth general decide.
Just like the Chiefs, count on the Raiders to make the majority of their roster adjustments by way of the draft. That being mentioned, normal supervisor Mike Mayock will attempt to discover some bargains in free company. Attainable free agent choices for the Raiders embrace inside linebacker Josh Bynes, outdoors linebacker John Simon, and free security Tashaun Gipson.
The Raiders are reportedly in signing former Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. Whereas it is not inconceivable, the Raiders must make some vital cap cuts to make this occur. If they don’t seem to be capable of land Smith-Schuster, two extra inexpensive choices embrace Rashard Higgins and Isaiah McKenzie.
Estimated present cap house (high 51): -$9.7 million
CBS draft projections: DL Jaelan Phillips (Ryan Wilson), LB Micah Parsons (Chris Trapasso), WR DeVonta Smith (Josh Edwards)
Free brokers to observe: ILB Josh Bynes, OLB John Simon, FS Tashaun Gipson, OL Matt Feiler, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Wants: C, G, WR, EDGE, CB, TE
Mike Pouncey’s retirement has created a brand new want on the Chargers’ offense. Together with discovering a brand new heart, Los Angeles might also be out there for a brand new left guard, as Dan Feeney is a free agent. Tight ends Hunter Henry and Virgil Inexperienced are additionally anticipated to turn into free brokers. On the defensive aspect of the ball, go rusher Melvin Ingram, linebacker Nick Vigil and cornerback Michael Davis are additionally anticipated to check the open market subsequent month.
The Chargers have a wholesome quantity of cap house, so they need to be capable to signal at the least a couple of of their upcoming free brokers. Within the draft, Los Angeles is predicted to make use of its first decide on the offensive line. The Chargers are additionally anticipated to pick out a go rusher with considered one of their different high picks. In the event that they’re fortunate, Pitt go rusher Patrick Jones II will probably be there for the Chargers to soak up the second spherical. The second-ranked EDGE participant in CBS Sports activities prospect rankings, Jones tallied 17.5 sacks, 24 tackles for loss and 4 compelled fumbles throughout his final two seasons with the Panthers.
Receiver is one other place to keep watch over so far as the Chargers are involved. With Mike Williams coming into his closing yr below contract, Los Angeles could be sensible so as to add to their receiving corps this offseason.
Estimated present cap house (high 51): $33.97 million
CBS draft projections: OL Rashawn Slater (Ryan Wilson and Chris Trapasso), OL Christian Darrisaw (Josh Edwards)
Free brokers to observe: LT Trent Williams, G/T Denzelle Good, C Alex Mack, OLB Haason Reddick, CB Shaquill Griffin, TE Gerald Everett, WR Will Fuller
Wants: CB, LB, EDGE, OT, QB
The Broncos enter the 2021 offseason with the division’s greatest wage cap. Denver will most likely spend most of that cash on the defensive aspect of the ball, particularly at defensive finish, linebacker and cornerback. The Broncos can even be out there for a brand new proper sort out, as starters Demar Dotson and Elijah Wilkinson are set to turn into free brokers.
Denver’s two greatest free brokers are defensive finish Shelby Harris and free security Justin Simmons. If the Broncos maintain each gamers, they’ll doubtless should lean on the draft to fill their different personnel wants. And whereas Drew Lock does seem like the Broncos’ longterm quarterback, it might make sense for the Broncos to discover a veteran quarterback who’s able to submitting in on a second’s discover.
Extra constant quarterback play, together with upgrades at linebacker and cornerback, needs to be sufficient to assist the Broncos flip issues round after a disappointing 2020 season. The Broncos have a formidable working recreation, a deep receiving corps and a number of other proficient defensive gamers, led by future Corridor of Fame linebacker Von Miler if Denver holds onto him.
Estimated present cap house (high 51): $39.46 million
CBS draft projections: CB Caleb Farley (Ryan Wilson), CB Patrick Surtain II (Chris Trapasso), LB Micah Parsons (Josh Edwards)
Free brokers to observe: CB Richard Sherman, LB Avery Williamson, DE Derek Wolfe, OT Daryl Williams, QB Jacoby Brissett