AFC West Season Recap and Offseason Guide

Now that the 2019-2020 NFL season has come to an end, let’s take a look at how each team fared and how busy they may be in the next few months during the offseason. Starting with the division of your Super Bowl LIV champions, the Kansas City Chiefs!

Kansas City Chiefs

Review: The Chiefs were able to put all the pieces together and reach the promise land of the NFL. Now they are faced with the difficult task of trying to sustain that success for years to come, in order to avoid fizzling out like many teams have done in the past. They are going to have to pay their superstar Quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, and that will take up a lot of the future cap space. Obviously the Chiefs were led by their prolific passing offense, with support from the run game led by Damian Williams. Their offensive line doesn’t get enough credit for their efforts this past season, a large part of the success they had. The defense took major strides forwards this season as well, as they went from a bottom 10 defense in 2018 to top 10 in 2019 in points allowed per game, pass yards allowed per game, and 3rd down completion percent allowed.

Notable Free Agents: Chris Jones (DT), Darron Lee (ILB), Anthony Sherman (FB), Bashad Breeland (CB), Kendall Fuller (CB), Cam Erving (OT), Demarcus Robinson (WR), Mike Pennel (DT)

Team Needs: OG, DT, LB, CB, FB

Denver Broncos

Review: The Broncos could be a team to take the NFL by surprise next season. It all depends on how much Drew Lock is able to develop and potentially take a leap to the next level as a legitimate NFL quarterback. They have some young play makers in place on the offensive side of the ball, in Philip Lindsey, Royce Freeman, and Courtland Sutton. The offense finished the year with only 17.6 points per game, good for just 28th out of 32 teams in the league, so they will certainly need to improve on that if they want to have success. The defense, however, continued to have success, keeping the team in the games while the offense sputtered. They allowed 19.8 points per game, which translates to 10th out of 32 teams. The defense has multiple starters on the defense with expiring contracts, so it will be difficult to be able to retain everyone.

Notable Free Agents: Chris Harris (CB), Derek Wolfe (DE), Shelby Harris (DE), Casey Kreiter (LS), Justin Simmons (FS), Devontae Booker (RB), Connor McGovern (C), Tim Patrick (WR)

Team needs: WR, C, FS, DE, CB, LB

Oakland Raiders

Review: All eyes will be on the Raiders this offseason, as they are moving to Las Vegas and rumors have been swirling about signing Tom Brady in free agency. Whether that actually happens or not, 2020 will be the third year of the Jon Gruden regime. They are in the midst of a complete rebuild, as they have been starting to fill the roster up with younger playmakers in the past few years. That trend is expected to continue, and if all goes well, they could be a team that might be able to sneak into the playoffs, as they surprisingly contended for a wildcard this past year. The 2019 offense as a whole was a very balanced attack. They finished 11th in total yards, while having the 9th most pass yards and 13th best rush yards. Their issue was they only put up 19.6 points per game, which finished bottom 10 in the league for that category. They were led by the rookie running back Josh Jacobs, who went for 1150 rush yards and 7 touchdowns. The air attack was led by Derek Carr, utilizing breakout tight end Darren Waller and rookie receiver Hunter Renfrow, with help stretching the field from Tyrell Williams. I expect the balanced attack to continue in the future, maybe adding an extra receiver on the outside to have an extra option in the red zone. The defense was below average overall, yet very strong against the run. They finished 8th best at stopping the run, yet only 25th against the pass. They will be looking to improving in that component of the game, likely putting a major emphasis on addressing that issue in the offseason.

Notable Free Agents: Daryl Worley (CB), Karl Joseph (S), Vontaze Burfict (LB), Will Compton (LB), Deandre Washington (RB)

Needs: CB, WR, S, LB

Las Angeles Chargers:

Review: The Chargers’ 2019 season couldn’t have gone any worse. Just one year after getting a playoff win in the previous season, they finished last in their division at a 5-11 record. They have decided to move on from quarterback Philip Rivers, so they will be looking for a replacement to lead the offense. They are the team who has been brought up most frequently in the Tom Brady sweepstakes, as the team as a whole is filled with talent on paper. There is also the possibility of going with veteran Tyrod Taylor, who is already on the team as a backup and drafting a rookie in the upcoming draft. The offense was 6th in pass yards, yet only 28th in rushing, despite having a dynamic duo of Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler. Both players will be free agents this offseason, as well with tight end Hunter Henry. They will still have the receiving duo of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams on the team, both of whom had 1000 yard seasons. The defense was once again very solid, yielding the 6th least total yards this past season, led by the stout pass rush duo Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram III and the elite secondary. The Chargers will be tasked with revamping the offense and continuing the strong defensive efforts in an attempt to get back to the playoffs.

Notable Free Agents: Philip Rivers (QB), Melvin Gordon (RB), Austin Ekeler (RB-restricted), Hunter Henry (TE), Michell Schofield III (OG), Travis Benjamin (WR), Adrian Phillips (SS)

Needs: QB, RB, TE, OG, S

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