AFC Notes: Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs, Raiders


  • ESPN’s Dan Graziano notes the Broncos have been impressed by second-round RB Javonte Williams. He’ll split time with veteran RB Melvin Gordon to open the season but Graziano thinks Williams could become the lead back sooner rather than later. 
  • Broncos GM George Paton said they’ve generated a lot of interest in their depth at cornerback, but doesn’t plan on trading anyone: “We really like this group, we’d like to keep the group, but we are getting a lot of calls.” (Jeff Legwold)


Chargers K Tristan Vizcaino looks to be the initial winner of the kicking competition between him and the unfortunately nicknamed “Money Badger” — previous kicker Michael Badgley. It was a tight battle with slim margins. 

“Ultimately, what convinced me, [G.M.] Tom [Telesco], and our coaching staff about Tristan was that this guy has real talent,” Chargers HC Brandon Staley said via Chris Hayre of the team’s website. “This guy has real leg strength. We feel like he has a lot of ability. He’s at the beginning of his football journey. We felt that if there’s a product in there, that if we continue to tap into that development, that there’s a really talented player there. Then, the kickoff aspect of the job was really important. We feel like he has a really special kickoff leg.”

  • ESPN’s Dan Graziano doesn’t expect Chargers third-round WR Josh Palmer to supplant WR Mike Williams this year. But Palmer could play well enough for Los Angeles to feel comfortable moving on from Williams after his contract expires at the end of the season. 


  • PFF’s Brad Spielberger notes Chiefs S Tyrann Mathieu‘s franchise tag number in 2022 would be an astronomical $23.38 million. The tag is either the average of the top five players at the position or 120 percent of a player’s cap number the previous year, whichever is higher. Mathieu counts $19.7 million against the cap in 2021. 
  • That means Kansas City is negotiating against whatever Mathieu can get on the open market. After the deal Vikings S Harrison Smith just signed at $16 million per year — though there’s some non-guaranteed money tacked on at the end that inflates the deal somewhat — Spielberger expects Mathieu to come pretty close to Seahawks S Jamal Adams‘ $17.5 million per year. 
  • Chiefs HC Andy Reid said TE Jody Fortson played his way onto the roster: “He busted his tail. He earned the right to make that cut.” (Herbie Teope)
  • Chiefs GM Brett Veach said he received enough trade calls about his backup tight ends that he thought he needed to keep fifth-round rookie Noah Gray and Fortson on the final roster. (Adam Teicher)


  • The Athletic’s Vic Tafur and Tashan Reed note that when Raiders WR John Brown signed this offseason, he was unaware of how high the staff was on WR Zay Jones. Brown had slipped to No. 6 on the depth chart, which is why he asked for and was granted his release. 

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