AFC Notes: Broncos, Chargers, Jimmy Garoppolo, Raiders


  • NBC Sports’ Peter King notes Broncos HC Sean Payton pursued QB Jarrett Stidham with a two-year, $10 million deal because he was intrigued by the upside Stidham showed late last season, not necessarily to put pressure on QB Russell Wilson.
  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer mentions he thinks the Patriots would still make sense as a potential trade suitor for Broncos WR Jerry Jeudy, as it would reunite him with college teammate Mac Jones. However, Denver’s asking price of a first-round pick is a non-starter, as Breer believes the Patriots have earmarked that pick for a tackle. 
  • Former Broncos G Graham Glasgow on if Wilson was misunderstood: “Jesus. Yeah, I would say he was misunderstood. I mean, a lot of people were very critical of him and spoke out against his character, which I feel like … it’s not fair to always criticize somebody’s character.” (Dave Birkett)


  • The Athletic’s Daniel Popper writes with how slow the running back market has been, it’s a little hard to envision another team being willing to give Chargers RB Austin Ekeler the contract he’s looking for in addition to trade compensation to Los Angeles. The best thing for both sides would be to find a resolution before the draft. 
  • Popper says if Ekeler is traded, the Chargers likely would have to use a high pick on a running back instead of a receiver or tight end. He adds WR DeAndre Carter could be re-signed as a depth piece and returner. 
  • While Popper likes the Chargers’ starting give on the offensive line with Jamaree Salyer replacing Matt Feiler at left guard, the depth is concerning. He thinks the team needs to make two or three additions there. 
  • Former Chargers LB Kyle Van Noy remains unsigned and Popper notes he could still be back on an affordable deal. The team does still need a top backup at edge rusher and Van Noy would fit the role perfectly. 
  • While S Alohi Gilman is currently penciled into the starting lineup, Popper points out the Chargers have the cap space to sign S John Johnson.


Obviously, the Raiders’ familiarity with QB Jimmy Garoppolo was a major factor in their interest in signing him as a free agent, as HC Josh McDaniels, GM Dave Ziegler, and several others all knew Garoppolo from when he started his career as a second-round pick by the Patriots. It went the other way, too, as Garoppolo’s familiarity with McDaniels in particular helped push him to Las Vegas over other suitors. 

“My college offense was so simplified,” Garoppolo said via Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. “We were running the Baylor stuff, where there’s no thinking, you’re just out there playing basketball, basically. So when I got to the Patriots, Josh and [Raiders TE coach] Jerry Schuplinski, too, they really raised me as a football player. It was the best thing for me. It was tough at times. I hated it at times, but looking back on it, it was the biggest blessing in disguise I ever had. And obviously got to learn from Tom [Brady], plenty of things there, too.”

“They were one of the first groups to reach out and just talk to us in the early stages of it, and that kind of got me excited about it,” Garoppolo added. “You start talking about the pros and cons of each team, and players and coaches they got. It all makes sense here in Las Vegas, I’d say. Just the further I went into the process, the easier the decision became.”

  • NBC Sports’ Peter King writes he heard QB Jarrett Stidham left the Raiders for a backup deal with the Broncos because he figured he had a better chance of becoming No. 3 on the depth chart in Las Vegas than he did becoming the starter. The Raiders signed Garoppolo and could use their first-round pick on a quarterback as well. 

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