Three needs for each team heading into free agency: AFC West


(thesportsgeek.com)

By: Casey Dobson


Regardless of what anyone in the division does in free agency, you know it will be with the goal of getting past His Majesty Mahomes. For the Chiefs, its all about how to make sure that doesn’t happen.


Kansas City Chiefs (14-2)


1. Offensive Line

Anyone who watched the Super Bowl will understand the Chiefs’ need for depth on the offensive line. While they have plenty of talent at the top of the depth chart, Mahomes was playing behind tissue paper when the main guys went down. Look for the front office to invest in some insurance policies to make sure they don’t have a repeat of Super Bowl LV.


2. Pass Rusher

The Chiefs could also use a shot in the arm in the pass rush department. They were ranked 22nd last season, which while it didn’t cost them on their way to the big game, it’s a trend they’re not going to want to see continue.


3. Wide Receiver

This might be a long shot but all signs point to Sammy Watkins leaving the Chiefs in favour of a bigger pay day somewhere else meaning there would be a wide receiver sized hole needing to be filled on the depth chart. Veteran wideouts all over the league would fall over themselves for the chance to catch passes from Mahomes in Reid’s offence even if for just a few plays per game. Slotting a veteran guy into this role will soffice for Kansas City who have enough talent on the top of the depth sheet at the receiver position.


Las Vegas Raiders (8-8)


1. Secondary

Over the last three years the Raiders have fielded one of the worst secondaries in the NFL. CB Lamarcus Joyner giving up the fourth most first downs in the slot (26) and starting safety Jonathan Abram was the lowest-graded safety in coverage so to say that they need to strengthen their secondary would be an understatement. They’ve got a young core back there so adding a veteran presence through free agency should be the first thing on Mike Mayock’s to-do list.


2. Wide Receiver

A big play wide receiver would work wonders in bolstering the Raiders’ ability to compete in the division. Derek Carr looked like a man possessed for the better part of last season and making sure he is insulated by weapons that allow him to not have to do everything on his own should be high on the priority list.


3. Offensive Line

With Trent Brown being sent back to New England, the team is in desperate need of protection for Carr. Their quarterback is at his best when he has some time and the fact of the matter is that at this point it doesn’t look like there’s anyone there that’s going to be able to get the job done on a week in week out basis.


Los Angeles Chargers (7-9)


1. Offensive Line

With Justin Herbert set to enter his sophomore year with the future of the franchise on his shoulders, the Chargers’ front office should be throwing their cheque books at as many protection options as possible. The team’s offensive line is in dire need of a boost after finishing fourth to last in pass-block grade last season. Many of the low-performers are set to hit the market so now is a perfect time to piece together a unit that will effectively protect Herbert.


2. Tight End

Once the front office can secure the offensive line, they need to replace their marquee tight end Hunter Henry, with someone of equal talent (Henry signed a three-year deal with New England on Tuesday). Having a reliable veteran tight end will be key in making sure Herbert’s development stays on track and while Henry would have been ideal because of familiarity, anyone with size and sure hands would fit the bill.


3. Secondary

After both Casey Heyward and Chris Harris regressed in 2020, the Bolts need to be looking at adding some depth in the secondary. They made a splash last year signing Harris and that one clearly hasn't worked out so don’t look for the team to be making any massive money moves, but they should be targeting some secondary strength to hopefully be able to turn some of last year’s heartbreaking losses into wins.


Denver Broncos (5-11)


1. Quarterback

A quarterback. Need we say more? This team hasn’t had a viable option under centre since Peyton Manning hung up the cleats and when you’re trying to get out of the same division as Patrick Mahomes, holding out hope for Drew Locke to pan out isn’t going to cut it.


2. Cornerback

The Broncos have a relatively solid defence but they could use another CB to play opposite Justin Simmons. Simmons generated the second-most WAR during the 2020 season and with an offence that has yet to find it’s new franchise quarterback, making sure both sides of the defence are led by juggernaut corners would go a long way in making sure they stay competitive.


3. Running back

Finally, Denver should look into adding a running back, especially given the uncertainty surrounding Melvin Gordon and his DUI case. There exists a heavy potential that Gordon would miss at least three games through suspension this season and with the pass game shaky at best, making sure the team can punish opponents on the ground is crucial.