AFC Notes: Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs, Raiders


Broncos GM George Paton explained his decision to pass on first-round QBs Justin Fields and Mac Jones despite Denver’s awful run at the position the past few years. It was a combination of not being totally sold on either Fields or Jones, wanting to give Drew Lock one more chance and absolutely loving what he saw from eventual first-round CB Patrick Surtain II.

“Plus — and this is not why we did it — but quarterbacks are available more than franchise corners every year, at least the last couple of years,” Paton said via NBC Sports’ Peter King

Denver didn’t leave the position completely unaddressed, trading for veteran Teddy Bridgewater to compete with Lock, who by all accounts understands this year is make or break for him and has taken pains to put in the extra work. He’s even learned from how Bridgewater operates. 

“My whole life, I relied on just having arm strength, gunslinging it. I’ve learned from Teddy — he’s more calculated, puts the ball out of breaks before guys get there,” he said. 


Five years ago, Chargers HC Brandon Staley was the defensive coordinator for Division III John Carroll University with aspirations to make it to the NFL by this time. However, Staley never envisioned how rapid his rise would be. 

“My path doesn’t make a lot of sense to people,” Staley said via NBC Sports’ Peter King. “I was just hoping to make it to the NFL within five years. But this? No.

“Something I vividly remember from my interview here: I told them, ‘I don’t know it all, guys, But I promise there won’t be anyone who will figure it out and learn it faster. That’s who I am—teacher, leader, competitor.’ I didn’t want to come across as a know-it-all, savant, wizard-type.”


The 2021 offseason has been largely defined by quarterback power struggles and discontent, whether in Green Bay, Houston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles or Seattle. Everything is good in Kansas City, though, where the Chiefs have embraced a role for QB Patrick Mahomes that goes beyond just standard quarterback duties on the field. Chiefs GM Brett Veach and HC Andy Reid accept Mahomes’ input in everything from personnel to game planning. 

“The big thing is, they really want to win and so do I,” Mahomes said via NBC Sports’ Peter King. “I think whenever you look around the league, every guy that’s kind of had some stuff happen this off-season, they just want to win. They want to win Super Bowls. Having coach Reid and having Brett Veach, and knowing the commitment they have for this organization and to win, that’s what allowed me to sign the contract that I did. I knew that those guys were going to be around. I had talked to them before that and I knew they were going to surround me with great players and a chance to win every single season. We hold each other accountable. That’s why I think that we have this relationship that we have.”

Mahomes is obviously a preternatural talent on the field but the young quarterback (he doesn’t turn 26 until after Week 1) has shown maturity and leadership beyond his years since taking over as the starter, which gave Veach and Reid confidence in entrusting him with a bigger role. 

“He’s got a great pulse of the team,” Veach said. “Smart players have an innate feel of their responsibility inside the team. He has that, and he’s been able to stay humble while becoming a global product. We would be doing a great disservice to the franchise long-term if we didn’t engage him on the important issues that affect our team. His play warrants, his impact warrants it.”

“I guess to use Green Bay as an example—clearly I don’t know the ins and outs of the issues there,” Veach added. “But I find it hard to believe that what happened there could happen here.”


49ers DE Arden Key said after Sunday’s practice that he was happy about being waived from the Raiders, while adding that he “wanted to get out of there.”

I definitely wanted to get out of there,” Key said, via David Lombardi of The Athletic. “I was more happy than surprised (about being waived). But hey, I got what I wanted.

Key was eager to find a new situation following three years with the Raiders in which he only tallied three sacks during his time there.

It was just bad all around for me,” Key said. “Bad system — it just wasn’t the right fit for me.

Looking for the latest NFL Insider News & Rumors?

Be sure to follow NFL Trade Rumors on TWITTER and FACEBOOK for breaking NFL News and Rumors for all 32 teams!

Leave a Reply