AFC West Notes: Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs, Raiders



  • According to an expert roundtable hosted by the Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala, the Broncos aren’t expected to significantly blow up the roster before the trade deadline despite an 0-4 start to the season since GM John Elway made it clear with his moves before the season he expected to compete this year.
  • However, if Denver has a record like 2-6 at the trade deadline, they could consider trading veterans like WR Emmanuel Sanders or CB Chris Harris who are in the last year of their deals and aren’t likely to be significant long-term contributors. 
  • Denver could probably expect to receive a fourth-round pick in return for Sanders, and might be able to get as high as a third-round pick for Harris. 
  • The Broncos likely won’t consider trading LB Von Miller even for a Khalil Mack-like package. 


The Chargers are well-versed in dealing with injuries at this point given their long run of bad injury luck that’s unlike almost any other in sports. After losing their third tight end of the season to injury Sunday, the team already had a backup plan in FB Derek Watt ready to go. 

“It looks very similar to what I do at fullback, so it’s not a big change,” Watt said via Jeff Miller of the Los Angeles Times. “There’s a lot of carryover. They called plays where I could go in there and do what had to be done without thinking too much about it.”

Watt didn’t just fill in as a blocker. He caught a 21-yard pass on Sunday against the Dolphins with another 15 yards added on for a penalty.

“Derek has done a nice job of playing fullback and tight end,” Chargers HC Anthony Lynn said. “I tell him all the time, ‘You’re going to be our Dallas Clark.’ He can block on the line of scrimmage. He’s a good receiver out of the backfield.”

  • Chargers WR Mike Williams (back) says he’s feeling much better, while DE Melvin Ingram (hamstring) and K Michael Badgley (groin) both missed practice. (Daniel Popper)
  • Recently-signed K Chase McLaughlin will likely kick for the Chargers on Sunday, as P Ty Long picked up an injury filling in for Badgley and the team is looking to lighten his load. (Popper)



Raiders LB Vontaze Burfict‘s season-long suspension was long-overdue in the minds of many. In fact the NFL hinted as much when it told Burfict in its letter that his suspension for the rest of the year was not just for his hit on Colts TE Jack Doyle, but for his pattern of behavior with previous suspensions and fines for similar plays. However, Raiders HC Jon Gruden believes the penalty to be excessive. 

“I’m not really going to say anything,” Gruden said, via ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez. “I’ve talked to (NFL VP of football ops Jon) Runyan in the league office, he knows how I feel. It hurts our team really bad. And I’m anxious to see what the appeal says. I’m not happy about it. At all. And I don’t want to say anything else about it. I’m obviously upset about it.”

Raiders QB Derek Carr weighed in on Burfict’s suspension as well, calling the veteran linebacker “one of the most misunderstood people in the NFL,” via the Athletic’s Vic Tafur.

“He is a great guy. . . . I don’t think the suspension is fair. . . . His heart is broken.”

Carr added he felt like there was a double standard with Burfict compared to other situations that played out on Sunday, like Patriots CB Jonathan Jones‘ helmet-to-helmet hit on Bills QB Josh Allen or Ravens CB Marlon Humphrey appearing to choke Browns WR Odell Beckham

“We see other people choking people out, and they’re going to play this Sunday,” Carr said via Gutierrez. “We see other people hitting people in the helmet, and they’re going to play this Sunday. And Vontaze Burfict won’t play the rest of the year? I think that’s a little excessive if you ask me. I don’t think it’s fair if we really got to know the guy.”

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