AFC Notes: Broncos, Chiefs, Raiders

     

Broncos

  • KUSA’s Mike Klis outlines Denver’s options at quarterback this offseason to replace or challenge incumbent starter Drew Lock. While the veteran free agent market has been picked over, Klis says Denver might be able to swing a trade for someone like 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo, Jets QB Sam Darnold or Panthers QB Teddy Bridgewater during the draft. Other options include Bears QB Nick Foles or Jaguars QB Gardner Minshew
  • There’s also a chance the Broncos could draft a quarterback, per Klis, either by trading into the top five or by sitting and hoping the fifth-best quarterback falls to No. 9. 
  • As a last resort, Klis notes that QB Alex Smith is still available, and while he’s not the most sparking option as a starter, he is a well-established positive presence to have in a quarterback room and could help Lock play better. 
  • The Broncos had QB Mitchell Trubisky on a preliminary list and the former Bears passer was interested in Denver. But the Broncos did not extend Trubisky an offer once free agency started and he signed with the Bills. (Klis)

Chiefs

  • ESPN’s Adam Teicher notes the Chiefs’ flirtations with a number of free-agent wide receivers show they’re not jazzed about going into 2021 with Mecole Hardman as the No. 2. 
  • Teicher adds if Kansas City can’t add another free agent he expects them to spend an early pick on a receiver. 

Raiders

One of the most shocking moves of the offseason was when it was reported the Raiders would be releasing C Rodney Hudson, who had been the stalwart core of one of the best offensive lines in the league for a few years now. Las Vegas ultimately found a trade partner for Hudson but OL coach Tom Cable acknowledged parting ways was a difficult decision — albeit one that was made easier by how much confidence the Raiders have in C Andre James, handing him an extension right after moving on from Hudson. 

“That’s tough, that’s tough,” Cable said via the Athletic’s Vic Tafur. “[Hudson] has all this knowledge and what a great leader he is, too. When you’re trying to build a top-level team, you need people of high quality and character like that. It’s tough to lose a guy like Rodney, but at the same time I think those are a lot of the characteristics that Andre James brings to this deal. He just hasn’t done it as much, obviously.”

Cable said James reminds him a lot of another former player he coached, longtime NFL center Max Unger who also like James moved from tackle to center. 

“It was easy to make that comparison because Max and Andre had so many similar characteristics,” Cable said. “He moves like Max, he does this like Max, … he thinks like Max. … And as soon as he demonstrated a lack of fear with it, that’s your green light.”

And in case James isn’t ready to start, the Raiders signed former Texans starting C Nick Martin to compete for the job. 

“You want to create competition,” Cable said. “I think that’s really important and I think Nick can do that. He has played center in this league at a high level and done some cool things. To me, if you can create competition at every spot, you’re elated because you have a chance to develop a quality group again.”

  • Cable said the plan is for Richie Incognito, Denzelle Good and 2020 fourth-rounder John Simpson to compete for the two starting guard spots: “They’re going to raise everybody up. John is going to push those two guys, and their knowledge and experience will help him. Once he has an offseason to develop his skill — and hopefully we get to do that this year — he’ll just take off.”
  • At tackle, Cable said Kolton Miller is a rock at left tackle — and Miller was extended very soon after this interview — while former third-rounder Brandon Parker is penciled in on the right side. Parker struggled in the past but Cable says he’s really progressed in his three seasons: “Physically, he wasn’t ready to play. But he has done nothing but grow and get stronger. As long as he stays clean with his footwork, he is going to challenge to play.”

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