AFC West Notes: Broncos, Chargers, Raiders


  • Per KUSA’s Mike Klis, Broncos QB Joe Flacco said he would be willing to take a backup role if it meant he could keep playing. 
  • Flacco added he will have an MRI in January to determine if he needs surgery on the herniated disc in his neck, which will also affect his decision to keep playing. (Jeff Legwold)
  • Broncos GM John Elway told reporters on Monday it would be fair to pencil in second-round rookie QB Drew Lock as the starter in 2020: “He finished, did a heckuva job, won four of five games, played well, but he has a long way to go and a lot of work to do. Don’t like to show our hand but I think it’s unrealistic to think we go in another direction.” (Ryan O’Halloran)
  • Elway added the team didn’t know whether it would be able to re-sign Broncos CB Chris Harris after he hits free agency: “We are going to go back and evaluate it. See what options we have and money we have available. I can’t answer it right now. We will see how everyone fits in the pie and use money best way we can.” (Troy Renck)
  • Harris said the team made him an offer for three years and $36 million before the trade deadline. (Nicki Jhabvala)
  • Mike Klis reports that the Broncos offered Harris a two-year, $25 million extension with $12.5 million guaranteed in the first year.  
  • Elway mentioned the team would try to redo RB Phillip Lindsay‘s deal this offseason. Lindsay had his second-straight 1,00-yard rushing season after signing in Denver as an UDFA in 2018: “Phillip has done a tremendous job. … As (HC Vic Fangio) said last night, there were 32 dumb-dumbs that didn’t draft him, and I was one of them.” (Jhabvala)
  • Though Broncos LT Garett Bolles struggled at times, Elway praised his ability to stay healthy for a full 16 games: “He got off to a slow start, but he continued to get better and better and better as the year went along. We did a better job helping him, too.” (O’Halloran)
  • Elway relayed that the priority for OT Ja’Wuan James this offseason is rehabbing and getting healthy: “Ultimately, he’s got to come back and hopefully that knee tightens up for him and he gets comfortable with it… Hopefully he can be the player we think we can be.” (Kyle Newman)
  • Broncos OC Rich Scangarello, DC Ed Donatell and ST coordinator Tom McMahon are all expected to return. (Renck)
  • Broncos S Justin Simmons said of his impending free agency: “I want to go where it fits and honestly Denver fits the most. Like I said all season, it just has to work out.” (Nicki Jhabvala)
  • Broncos CEO Joe Ellis said Brittany Bowlen has clearly emerged as the next potential owner of the team following the death of her father, Pat Bowlen, and his succession plan that she has followed despite conflict and lawsuits from other family members: “She has distinguished herself as the one child that could possibly take over her father’s role. … There would need to be some cooperation from the family for that to happen, there’s no question about that.” (Jhabvala)
  • Ellis acknowledged that if the rest of the family doesn’t sign off on Brittany Bowlen as the new owner, then selling the team becomes an option. (Klis)


  • Jason La Canfora would be “very surprised” if Philip Rivers is back as the Chargers’ quarterback in 2020.
  • While there was some talk that Chargers HC Anthony Lynn could be a surprise firing after the season, Mike Florio of PFT reports that word from the team’s players on the flight back is that Lynn is safe.
  • When asked about Rivers being back with the team, Lynn said: “I mean, who wouldn’t want a guy with those intangibles, that production. I mean, sure, but I’ve got a lot of guys to look at, not just Phil.” (Jeff Miller)
  • Chargers C Mike Pouncey is seeing a doctor next week for an MRI and update on his neck, and if he receives medical clearance he intends to keep playing next season. (Jeff Miller)
  • Tom Pelissero of NFL Media mentions that Chargers interim offensive coordinator Shane Steichen is set to be a free agent after the season.


  • According to NBC Sports’ Scott Bair, Raiders TE Darren Waller had thumb surgery on Monday. 
  • Raiders HC Jon Gruden said he anticipates bringing back the entire coaching staff. (Vic Tafur)
  • Gruden adds addressing the wide receiver position will be a priority for the Raiders this offseason. (Tafur)
  • According to Ian Rapoport, the Raiders attempted to claim CB Tony Brown, but the Bengals had the top waiver priority. 

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