Monday March 18th by KC58
A fresh week opens up this Monday and the AFC West teams look much different then they did just one week earlier. The AFC West has been a flurry of activity for the past few days picking up some of the bigger names in the NFL. Denver, Kansas City, and San Diego, have all improved their teams and could potentially be considered one of the most competitive Divisions in the NFL this year. Oakland, not so much. They had a rough go at it and unfortunately had to trim the fat from an already bad team. How did your team come out of Free Agency in the eyes of Vegas?
Odds Last Week: 7/1
Odds Now: 6/1
2013 Salary-Cap Hit: $123.7 million
Cap Space: -$700,000
Last week was a big week for the Denver Broncos picking up some of the best names in Free Agency. Denver nabbed one of the better pass catching WR in FA in Wes Welker, which is in my opinion going to be one of the better QB – WR duos in the NFL. Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will help them on the outside opposite Champ Bailey and they helped their D-Line with Tackles Terrance Knighton and Kevin Vickerson. Unfortunately the team could not land one of their best pass rushing DE’s Elvis Dumervil in a situation affectionately known as “Faxgate”. The team also added some help on the offensive line with Guard Louis Vasquez which will give Payton Manning that little bit of extra time to find that open receiver. Like he needs it, he will always have that option in the middle with Welker. My Free Agency Grade for Denver is an A, comment below to give your grade.
San Diego Chargers
Odds Last Week: 50/1
Odds This Week: 50/1
2013 Salary-Cap Hit: $119.1 million
Cap Space: +$3.9 million
It was kind of a mediocre Free Agency for San Diego, although they did in my opinion improve their team. They maintained some of their Free Agents plus added a couple of big names. Like Cornerback Derek Cox which will improve their secondary and Running Back Danny Woodhead which is someone opposing teams will have to game plan for. With 3.9 million left in the salary cap the Chargers may not be done in Free Agency. Don’t sell San Diego short this year, they will be a good team and will be a challenge for any team they face. My Free Agency Grade for San Diego is a C, comment below to give your grade.
Kansas City Chiefs
Odds Last Week: 50/1
Odds This Week: 60/1
2013 Salary-Cap Hit: $124.6 million
Cap Space: -$1.6 million
Now this was a big surprise to me when I first saw it. The Chiefs have been signing big name after big name in Free Agency, and in my opinion are probably the greatest improved team through Free Agency so far. Then I started to think, their are a lot of unknowns for the Chiefs. Just think how many “New” things the Chiefs have this year. New GM John Dorsey, New Head Coach Andy Read, New Offensive Cord. Doug Pederson, New Defensive Cord. Bob Sutton , New QB Alex Smith, plus an unproven WR in Johnathan Baldwin. A lot of these questions will have to be answered before they get any love in Vegas. Plus I think with Denver being in the same division they have a huge hill to climb to knock them off the top of the AFC West.
That being said, the Chiefs have greatly improved their team with some big signings this FA period. QB Alex Smith will improve their QB play. With Smith the Chiefs maybe able to start using all their offensive weapons they have, including newly acquired WR Donnie Avery, and Tight End Anthony Fasano. Last year the Chiefs offense was stagnate due to poor QB play and Coaching. We will see how Ried and Smith take this impressive offense “on paper” to the next level. The Defense also improved, last year they lacked a reliable Free Safety and Cornerback opposite Brandon Flowers. They added Cornerbacks Sean Smith and Dunta Robinson, (which will probably play Free Safety). They lost DE Glenn Dorsey but added a better DE with the signing of Mike DeVito. The Chiefs very well could end up being one of the better Defenses in the NFL. My Free Agency Grade for Kansas City is an A+, comment below to give your grade.
Odds Last Week: 150/1
Odds This Week: 200/1
2013 Salary-Cap Hit: $106.2 million
Cap Space: +$15.8 million
Now with the Oakland Raiders. Well Raiders fans not the talk of the town but you are trimming the fat needed to start competing in this league again. I know it may be hard to watch but the Raiders are making the necessary moves. I know the fans love the old owner Al Davis but everyone has to admit he was making some crazy personnel moves towards the end, now the new organization has to deal with it. The Head Coach Dennis Allen is making the right moves to make Oakland competitive in the next 3-4 years, for now they will have to deal with being the black sheep of the AFC West.
Free Agency has been a complete failure for Oakland but like I said up top, it had to be. The Raiders had to trim some Cap room and let people walk. They did not go after any notable Free Agents in the first week but they maintained some for the future. With 15.8 million in cap room they can go after some FA’s late and try to get some value. Remember Oakland is rebuilding, and that’s no secret, so no player that has a chance to sign with a competitive team is going to sign with Oakland. Well unless it is for a long contract and they can be with them when they start winning. In other words they have to be in it for the long haul. My Free Agency Grade for Oakland is a D+, comment below to give your grade. The reason for the high grade is because I believe Oakland is making the right moves. If I did not believe that, I would have given them an F-.