AFC Notes: Austin Ekeler, Chris Jones, Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs


Broncos HC Sean Payton isn’t giving himself a deadline to select a starting quarterback to ensure that he makes the correct decision. 

“I would say I have an end date — that would be the week before the first game — but I don’t have a set date [to name the starter],” Payton said Tuesday, via Pro Football Talk. “I still think we always talk about the locker room and the players in the locker room. I think when we get into training camp and we get into the preseason games, I think oftentimes the decisions take care of themselves, but the object is to win. In our league, it’s year to year. Man, we’re competing to win this year, and we’re going to make the right decision relative to who gives us that opportunity.”

  • Payton wouldn’t set a time for when he’ll decide who the starting QB is: “Every day we’re rolling with the 1s, 2s and 3s. … I would say I have an end date, and that’s the week before the first game, but I don’t have a set date … most importantly it’s the right decision.” (ESPN)
  • Broncos CB Patrick Surtain II on if he thought there was any chance he would get traded: “No. Obvioulsy I want to be a Bronco.” (Chris Tomasson)
  • Broncos LB Andre Smith‘s one-year deal is worth $1.125 million and carries a $985,000 cap figure under the veteran salary benefit, per Aaron Wilson. 


  • Commanders RB Austin Ekeler talked about why he decided to move on from the Chargers after seven seasons there: “They wanted a guy to hand the ball off to 300 times a year… that’s not my game. There was a misalignment there, no harm no foul.” (Up & Adams show)
  • The Chargers signed WR Praise Olatoke to a three-year, $2.83 million deal including salaries of $795,000 in 2024, $960,000 in 2025, and $1.075 million in 2026. The deal includes annual injury waivers and split salaries, per Aaron Wilson. 
  • Chargers S Tony Jefferson‘s one-year deal is worth $1.21 million and carries a $985,000 cap figure under the veteran salary benefit. (Wilson)


Chiefs DT Chris Jones refused to talk about the end of his career similar to how Travis Kelce did with reporters earlier this week. 

“Once you begin to think about things like that, you’re getting to feed the mind those types of thoughts,” Jones said, via “I don’t even want my mind to even go that far to the ‘R’ word.”

Jones wants Kelce to play for at least another six years.

“He’s got like four or five more years (left), and what is he talking about, right?” Jones said. “We can’t let TK go. … We’ve got to retire together. Give me at least six, four years, then we’ll talk about it.”

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