Let’s see what AFC West teams have done to try and dethrone the defending Super Bowl champions during the first week of free agency.
After fielding a terrible offensive line in 2022, the Broncos are upgrading it.
Former Baltimore Ravens guard Ben Powers inked a four-year, $52 million deal that had $28.5 million guaranteed. Former San Francisco 49ers right tackle Mike McGlinchey signed a five-year, $87.5 million contract with $50 million promised. For Denver, I like this move a lot. McGlinchey went to war in San Francisco, learning from Trent Williams — one of the league’s best tackles. Now, he is arguably the Broncos’ best offensive lineman.
Denver also secured its backup signal-caller: former Las Vegas quarterback Jarrett Stidham was signed to a two-year, $10 million contract. He started two games last year — both of them losses — and given that Russell Wilson hasn’t played a full season since 2020, we might see Stidham start a couple of Broncos games.
Broncos signing RB Samaje Perine to 2-year, $7.5 million deal. (via @MikeGarafolo) pic.twitter.com/JGfbl8Ez9J— NFL (@NFL) March 14, 2023
Former Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Chris Manhertz signed a two-year, $6 million contract with Denver. A journeyman, Manhertz is touted for his blocking ability.
For the defense, former Arizona Cardinals defensive end Zach Allen came on board with a three-year, $45.8 million contract. This will help replace Bradley Chubb, whom the Broncos traded away halfway through last season.
Linebacker Alex Singleton was re-signed to a three-year $18 million deal. While he wasn’t a starter in 2022, he was thrust into the starting lineup when Jonas Griffith went down, ultimately leading the team with 163 tackles.
Las Vegas Raiders
After signing a $67.5 million contract that has $34 million guaranteed, former 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will lead the Raiders’ offense for the next three years. This probably means Las Vegas will not draft a quarterback in April.
Raiders signing QB Jimmy Garoppolo. (via @MikeGarafolo) pic.twitter.com/2S3MtTPzVV— NFL (@NFL) March 13, 2023
Since Garoppolo has a history with head coach Josh McDaniels’ complicated offensive system, this is a smart scheme fit. A great RPO quarterback, Garoppolo usually hands it off to the running back. That will help the Raiders’ offensive weapons be successful in play-action reps.
A move that might have helped determine whether Las Vegas went after Garoppolo was placing the franchise tag on running back Josh Jacobs. Garoppolo is accustomed to having a great running game around him. Now he’ll have last year’s rushing champion in the backfield.
Former New England Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers signed a three-year deal worth $33 million. He’ll be behind Davante Adams and Hunter Renfrow on the depth chart. The Raiders also signed veteran wideout Phillip Dorsett. McDaniels coached the seven-year veteran during his time with the New England Patriots from 2017-2019
BREAKING: Giants trading for TE Darren Waller. (via @TomPelissero) pic.twitter.com/OPhFikAFnx— NFL (@NFL) March 14, 2023
Meanwhile... star tight end Darren Waller was dealt to the New York Giants for the 100th overall pick in April’s NFL Draft — the pick that Kansas City gave up to acquire wideout Kadarius Toney.
Los Angeles Chargers
In the first hour of the so-called “legal tampering period,” running back Austin Ekeler requested permission to seek a trade.
Austin Ekeler is requesting permission to speak with other teams about a potential trade after preliminary talks with the Chargers aimed at a contract extension did not progress, his agent told @AdamSchefter. pic.twitter.com/vHzyRl5DA2— ESPN (@espn) March 13, 2023
He’s been a crucial part of the Los Angeles offense, serving as a checkdown security blanket for quarterback Justin Herber — and has led the league in total touchdowns in each of the last two seasons. He has been asking for a new contract. If he and the Chargers can’t figure it out, expect to see him in a new uniform.
With Drue Tranquill and Kyle Van Noy both hitting free agency, Los Angeles signed former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks to a two-year, $13.5 million deal. Entering his ninth season, the 31-year-old linebacker is expected to improve the team’s underperforming 2022 defense.
Which move has surprised you the most?