The AFC West is turning into a pretty interesting division as we await the 2011 season (if it ever gets here -- thanks, NFL lockout). The Kansas City Chiefs
are the defending champs but the San Diego Chargers
are more or equally as talented and then there's the up-start Oakland Raiders
who could legitimately make a run at the division title next season.
On that note, i wanted to take a look at a few of the interesting questions surrounding the AFC West. For the Chargers, that's the future of WR Vincent Jackson
, and for the Broncos
it's the future of QB Kyle Orton and for the Raiders it's CB Nnamdi Asomugha.
What's the long-term future of Vincent Jackson? He heads into another season without a long-term deal. The lack of that security caused Jackson to miss half the 2010 NFL season and he enters the 2011 season (if it ever gets here) in the same situation. It appears Jackson will be playing in 2011 and not holding out so, for at least one more year, VJ will be in San Diego. I would guess though that he doesn't sign that long-term deal with the Chargers meaning this could be his final year in the AFC West.
Prediction: Jackson leaves the Chargers after the 2011 season.
Will Kyle Orton leave Denver? The Broncos quarterback is due over $8 million in 2011 which is the reason many expect him to be traded. QB Tim Tebow may be the leading candidate to start the season as the starter which would relegate Orton to a backup role, a position not usually reserved for someone making over $8 million. As a Chiefs fan, I would rather see Orton get traded because I believe he may be the best option for them in 2011.
Prediction: Orton is traded before the 2011 season for a fourth round pick.
Could Nnamdi Asomugha return to Oakland? It seems very unlikely that would happen as Asomugha will be a free agent and has his pick of where he'll play next. Most people want to get out of Oakland so I imagine Asomugha won't seriously entertain returning, if the Raiders offer a market value deal. I would guess Asomugha accepts a deal somewhere else for the 2011 season.