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AFC West: What the Chargers are doing in free agency to combat Patrick Mahomes

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A three-part series on the AFC West signing players to try to curb the Super Bowl MVP.

NFL: International Series- Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

While Kansas City Chiefs fans haven’t had any moves to get excited about early in the 2020 NFL free agency period, rival fanbases are busy looking up highlights of the newest players on their favorite team. The other three AFC West franchises have made a noticeable effort to acquire proven defensive players this week, whether that’s via trade or signing.

These new additions seem to share a common theme: They all have been acquired to help their teams neutralize the effects of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. In three posts coming out on Thursday and Friday, I’ll take look at what each divisional foe has done so far in the new league year. We’ve covered the Las Vegas Raiders and we’ve covered the Denver Broncos. Let’s wrap up the series with the Chargers.


Kansas City Chiefs v Denver Broncos Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The third AFC West team to make a big-time player acquisition was the Chargers — who picked a familiar face to add to their defensive secondary. Former Denver Bronco and first-team All-Pro cornerback Chris Harris Jr. has agreed to sign a two-year deal with the Chargers that would pay him a total of $20.25 million.

Harris was recently recruited by Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu to come join him in the Kansas City secondary — but the Chargers apparently won the bidding war. The reported contract seems like a reasonable price that the Chiefs should have been willing to offer if they truly pursued him. Nonetheless, he will be added to an already-talented Los Angeles defensive back end. Fellow cornerbacks Casey Heyward and Desmond King form a very good trio for the Chiefs’ passing offense to deal with — not to mention safety Derwin James as well.

Los Angeles also signed former Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Linval Joseph to a two-year, $17M deal. His presence on the interior will be immediately felt in 2020 — but probably not for much longer as he is turning 32 in October. He does add to an already effective group of pass rushers.


There have only been a couple days of free agency, and the sole AFC West team to not make a significant transaction has been the Chiefs. The rest of the division shot out of the starting blocks, bringing in players that directly contribute to countering Patrick Mahomes.

The improvements look good on paper — but a healthy, full-speed Chiefs offense has yet to truly show any signs of being slowed down.