AFC Notes: Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs, Raiders

     

Broncos

  • Per KUSA’s Mike Klis, Broncos CEO Joe Ellis said the hope is to complete the transition to Brittany Bowlen as the team’s acting owner before his contract expires in March, 2022. However, that is dependent upon the legal battle playing out currently, with the next court date scheduled for September 1: “Hopefully, we can pull off a transition to a new owner, whether that’s Brittany or somebody else. I’ll stick around for that. I don’t know when that would be at this point. A lot of things are up in the air.” 

Chargers

  • Chargers HC Anthony Lynn called DE Joey Bosa‘s extension “one less distraction” for them: “It’s one less distraction you have to deal with.” (Daniel Popper)
  • Lynn said he is not involved in contract negotiations: “I make them feel like Superman. But I take a step back when they want to get paid like Superman.” (Popper)
  • As for the Chargers’ quarterback battle between Tyrod Taylor and first-round Justin Herbert, Lynn said the veteran Taylor will “probably be our Day 1 starter.” (Jason B. Hirschhorn)
  • Lynn said Taylor is the “perfect guy” for Herbert to learn from given the veteran’s “work ethic and their similar introverted personalities.”
  • As for Herbert’s development, Lynn praised Chargers QBs coach Pep Hamilton‘s work with the rookie: “Pep Hamilton is doing a hell of a job with him right now.” (Popper)
  • Lynn said all of the Chargers’ 86 players have reported to training camp and no players have expressed a desire to opt-out from 2020. (Jeff Miller)
  • Regarding Chargers’ WR Keenan Allen, who is entering the final year of his contract, Lynn said the receiver has nothing to prove this season: “He doesn’t have to prove anything to us.” (Popper)
  • As for what the Chargers are looking for in a third receiver, Lynn said speed” is their top priority. (Popper)
  • When asked about the dealing with the pandemic, Lynn said there are too many protocols to go over with reporters: “We don’t have enough time in this day to talk about all the protocols we have.” (Popper)

Chiefs

Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes representation, Chris Cabott of Steinberg Sports & Entertainment, said negotiations toward Mahomes’ 10-year, $450 million deal began in January 2019. 

My friendship and relationship with Brett [Veach], the GM, is pretty well-documented. So, obviously we’re all very strong believers in Patrick, hence the trade and everything that happened there as a rookie. So, in this deal, I mean we see each other almost every week at games; always kind of talking and exchanging notes. After the 2018 MVP season and coming within a penalty of the Super Bowl, it was pretty clear that a potential extension would be a scenario. So from January 2019 and on, we would meet once a month and were really trying to spend a lot of time together. At this level of a deal, you really to take a lot of time,” said Cabott, via Josh Edwards of CBS Sports. 

Cabott said it was important for them to learning the Chiefs’ salary cap perspective going forward in regards to other players and other salary models involved with the organization. 

“For us, it was learning the cap from the Chiefs’ perspective,” Cabott said. “It was learning the roster from the Chiefs’ perspective and charting that out until the end of the contract. Through last season, the longest contract on the Chiefs’ salary cap was kicker Harrison Butker. Talking with Patrick a lot and getting his feedback and getting his thoughts and just being really, really prepared. When you have something of this magnitude you have so many different scenarios, models, ideas, concepts. There’s so much that goes into it. Obviously every time there’s a transaction throughout free agency we update the cap, double-check the numbers everything like that, the draft, everything. We were really well prepared when the veil lifted there in the middle of June, we were ready to dig in, mutually, both sides.”

In regards to Mahomes’ guarantees and structure, Cabott explains that NFL contract restrictions forced them to add years to Mahomes’ deal. 

[Steinberg] talks about starting with the end goal in mind,” Cabott said. “In this scenario, there were a number of things that were important, but obviously guarantees and amounts were two of them. It became clear that with the NFL’s funding requirements and their restrictions, which you don’t have in basketball and baseball, the only way to get there was adding years to the contract with roster bonuses that vest years in advance. Those would become the famous guaranteed mechanisms. That was starting at the desired goal and working backward and that has always been one of Leigh’s principles if you look back over the years with Steve Young. He had the highest contract in sports at one time.”

Cabott believes the current uncertainty around the NFL with the global pandemic helped convince Kansas City to re-sign Mahomes. 

“The Chiefs were definitely interested in getting Patrick under contract; we were definitely interested in extending him,” Cabott said. “Coronavirus was an uncertainty. I think when you have uncertainty, on a roster, you try to manage what is certain. So if you look at the Titans with Derrick Henry and everything that went on there with [Ryan] Tannehill, you want to bring back what has worked.”

Cabott describes that the Chiefs and Mahomes had three options for his contract: to play under the franchise, sign a record-setting short-term deal, or a record-setting long-term extension. 

“There were numerous models that we had; every model that you could imagine from stuff tied to the cap to option bonuses to different signing bonus structures. They all kind of went into three categories. The first category was do nothing; literally, ride this out, ride out the tags. Door number two was shape history on a short-term basis. Door number three was shape history on a long-term basis.”

Raiders

  • Per NBC Sports’ Josh Schrock, Raiders HC Jon Gruden said they’ve been impressed with new QB Marcus Mariota: “No. 1 thing was to get healthy. He had a shoulder problem, he had an ankle problem. … He did a great job getting healthy and learning the system. That will give him a chance to be Marcus Mariota.”
  • Gruden is also excited to be adding first-round WR Henry Ruggs to the offense: “We like Ruggs. We like a lot more about Ruggs than his blocking. We didn’t take him in the first round to block … His toughness, every down competitiveness has a chance to make him a great player in this league.” (Schrock)
  • However, Gruden said he wanted to hold off on making any predictions about Ruggs or the other rookies until he could actually see them work: “We have to prove that we made the right pick.” (Vic Tafur)
  • Ruggs told reporters he’s 100 percent after his thigh injury earlier this offseason. (Tashan Reed)
  • Gruden wants young defensive linemen like P.J. Hall, Maurice Hurst and Arden Key to step up this year and he thinks having new DL coach Rod Marinelli will benefit them. (Paul Gutierrez)
  • Gruden also highlighted free-agent DT Maliek Collins as a key addition this offseason: “He has to raise hell.” (Tafur)
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