AFC Notes: Broncos, Chiefs, Raiders

     

Broncos

The Broncos went out and signed RB Melvin Gordon in free agency this year despite already having a two-time 1,000-yard rusher in RB Phillip Lindsay with the vision of creating a dynamic, 1-2 punch in the running game. However, that means by definition someone has to be the 1 and the other the 2. Both Gordon and Lindsay are used to being lead backs and while they’re teammates, neither plan on relinquishing that role. 

“We’re gonna compete for that spot,” Gordon said on NFL Network via NFL Media’s Grant Gordon. “I know it’s his territory. You gotta take the humble route, but I’m a competitor at the end of the day. I’m gonna compete and he is, too. I’m just gonna put my head down and work and see where I’m at. But you’re right, there can only be, there’s a No. 1 guy and a No. 2 guy — it is what it is. I’m gonna go work and get mine.”

Chiefs

  • ESPN’s Bill Barnwell believes Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes will end up playing about six years of his new, 12-year deal before the two sides negotiate another deal. 
  • He points to the 2027 year as the inflection point of the deal, as Mahomes will make a $10 million base salary and $49.4 million roster bonus.
  • At that point, Mahomes will either be underpaid if the cap has increased to $300 million or if he’s regressed the Chiefs will want to get out from under that figure. Because 2027 guarantees in 2026, that marks the end of 2025 as the time for a new deal. 
  • Barnwell says that while some players have had guarantees for future seasons kick in a year or more early, Mahomes’ deal is unique in that the entire contract is structured that way. For example, his 2023 compensation guarantees in 2021, his 2024 in 2022 and so on until 2025 when it moves to just one year in advance. 
  • Per Yahoo Sports’ Terez Paylor, most NFL evaluators think Mahomes’ ability will offset any loss of cap flexibility the Chiefs may take on from this deal: “He will have to cover for weak spots that will come around due to the size of the contract, and he will. I would have no problem sacrificing a few positions to sign arguably the best player in the game right now while he is young.”
  • Another evaluator thinks the Chiefs will be able to offset that because free agents will take less for the chance to play with Mahomes: “The guy is better than any generational talent and free agents for the coming years will line up at the door looking to take pay cuts just to play with him.”
  • Mahomes said he wanted to make sure the Chiefs had the ability to build a team around him with his deal: “Not only does it give me the security I’ve always wanted, but it allows the team to be great throughout my entire career.” (Nate Taylor)
  • Chiefs HC Andy Reid says he hasn’t thought about retiring and is ready to keep on coaching Mahomes: “If it takes me into my 70s, let’s roll.” (Paylor)
  • Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com notes the Chiefs could still probably find room for a long-term extension for franchise DT Chris Jones if they wanted to. However, their actions indicate they may have other plans. 
  • Rosenthal adds it appears likely the Chiefs will find out the hard way whether Jones is serious about missing time without a new deal in place.

Raiders

  • According to Adam Caplan, Raiders GM Mike Mayock has been the voice of reason this offseason for HC Jon Gruden, who has an interest in signing top free agent Jadeveon Clowney, initially wanted to trade for Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue.
  • According to Tashan Reed and Vic Tafur of The Athletic, Las Vegas is in a “distant” third place with their offer to Clowney. They also note that Gruden “really wants” Clowney and is interested in increasing the Raiders offer.
  • Reed and Tafur mention the Raiders have just under $9 million in cap space available. This means that unless Clowney takes a pay cut, the team would have to make additional moves to acquire him.
  • A sports hernia in February limited Clowney in 2019 and concerns about his health and inability to receive a physical makes it seem that the Raiders should avoid committing significant money to him long term, according to Reed and Tafur.
  • Due to the fact that both of the Raiders’ current starting defensive ends, Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby outperformed Clowney last season, Reed and Tafur note that he would be considered a luxury because of the amount of money the team guaranteed to DE Carl Nassib.
  • Analyst and former NFL QB David Carr reports Raiders WR Hunter Renfrow is going to get a lot of touches in Las Vegas for the upcoming season, citing his brother, Raiders QB Derek Carr, as his source.
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