AFC West Notes: Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs, Raiders



Continuity is often highlighted as a positive when it comes to coordinator hirings at the NFL level, which makes sense considering the denseness of playbooks and the time it takes to learn them. But Broncos GM John Elway said he made the decision to hopefully find stability with new OC Pat Shurmur rather than valuing continuity with former OC Rich Scangarello.

“Everybody says, ‘Continuity,’” Elway said via Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post. “But continuity is only good if it’s good continuity. We feel good about [Shurmur’s hiring] and it might be something in place for a while.”

  • Elway said Broncos LB Bradley Chubb is making excellent progress in his recovery from a torn ACL: “Really good. He looks great. I (jokingly) asked with about five weeks left in the season if he was ready to go. He should be ready to go for OTAs (in May) or even the offseason program (in April).” (O’Halloran)
  • The Broncos have elected to not renew the contract of director of football administration and lead negotiator Mike Sullivan. (Nicki Jhabvala)
  • Sullivan was with the Broncos for eight years and is not retiring from the NFL.


  • The Athletic’s Daniel Popper doesn’t see any movement happening on the contract situation with Chargers QB Philip Rivers until after the NFL Scouting Combine when his agents can gauge what he’d be worth to other teams. 
  • Popper doesn’t see Rivers and his family permanently moving to Florida as a clear sign he’s on his way out, as lots of NFL players live away from the city they play in. 
  • Popper adds even if Rivers leaves the Chargers, that doesn’t automatically make it a rebuilding season, as the pressure is on for GM Tom Telesco and HC Anthony Lynn to win in their first year in the new stadium in Los Angeles. 
  • Popper mentions Tom Brady, Cam Newton and Tyrod Taylor as options at quarterback for the Chargers in lieu of Rivers. 
  • As for a new deal for Chargers TE Hunter Henry, Popper expects it would take between $34-$38 million over four years to get him signed. 
  • Popper notes the Chargers could cut LB Denzel Perryman for both financial and performance reasons. 


One of the subplots of the coming Super Bowl between the Chiefs and 49ers is former Chiefs DE Dee Ford, who was traded to the 49ers this offseason. Ford had a career-high 13 sacks in 2018, but lined up offside to nullify what would have been a game-sealing interception in the AFC Championship against Tom Brady and the Patriots, who went on to win the Super Bowl. However, there’s no ill will from his former teammates as they prepare to match up. 

“I don’t blame him at all,” Chiefs OT Mitchell Schwartz said via the team website. “We scored zero points in the first half, so if we score any points in the first half he’s not in that position at all. Offensively, that’s kinda view we had was we didn’t do enough offensively to score enough points to win the game. . . . I think there were plenty of opportunities for us early in the game for us to have done better and not be in that spot. Football is never about the one specific play. I never put that on him.”


Patriots QB Tom Brady was spotted talking with Raiders owner Mark Davis ahead of a UFC event, and it naturally touched off a wave of speculation about Brady landing with the Raiders in Las Vegas in 2020. One person who didn’t appreciate that was current incumbent Raiders QB Derek Carr, who is growing sick of the constant speculation about his job. 

“I mean, there were a lot of quarterbacks at that fight,” Carr said with a laugh via ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez. “And there was a lot of football players at that fight that are free agents. And it’s like, every time, with my job, it’s always a story. No matter what. And knowing some people that were around, I even know what the conversation was [between Davis and Brady], and it’s like, ‘C’mon, man, when’s it going to end?‘”

Carr has been supremely confident he is the franchise quarterback for the Raiders, going as far as to buy a house in Las Vegas next to HC Jon Gruden. But a variety of factors continue to make his position seem precarious. He’s only had one winning season, has earned a reputation as an overly-conservative passer and the Raiders checked out a number of high-profile quarterbacks in last year’s draft and seem like they’ll do the same in 2020. Balanced against that is the fact that Gruden and GM Mike Mayock have been publicly supportive and Carr’s been productive with his raw stats while the team continues to rebuild.

“All of these things that [you’d think] everyone would be like, ‘Yes, we’re going the right way. Everything’s getting better, and we know where we need to add things and where we [need] help.’ You would think that that would be the story. But that’s not how it works. And I understand that now,” Carr said. “Especially when people are seen with certain people. It’s like, ‘Oh, gosh. Well, I was at dinner with [Davis] last night. Does that count for anything?’ Golly. It’s just funny. But I’m used to it now. But I’ll say it this way: I look forward to taking the first snap in that stadium, and I look forward to taking every snap from here on out — until I’m done.”

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