2012 NFL Free Agency: AFC West's Week One Free Agency Analysis
– Mar 21, 2012
The AFC west does have it share of battles regardless of what everyone may think, its a hard division to win. During the 2012 NFL Free Agency frenzy the landscape of the NFL can change overnight.
Lets review the recent moves from the Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers on the open market.
Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City has been pretty busy from the get-go. In addtion, to re-signing Amon Gordon, the team also added Peyton Hillis on a one year, $3 million deal to bolster its backfield.
Peyton Hillis was haunted by the Madden Curse (or just had a lot of bad luck) last season, appearing in just 10 contest (nine starts), as he ran 587 yards on 161 carries (3.6 YPC) and three touchdowns with 22 receptions for 130 yards through the air to boot.
Hillis started 14 games in 2010, when he unleashed a breakout season with1,177 yards and 11 scores on 270 carries (4.4 YPC) with 61 receptions for 477 yards and two touchdowns. The 6-2, 250-pound reunites with the Chiefs offensive coordinator Brian Daboll as he enters his fifth season and joins his third team in the NFL.
The Chiefs also stole quarterback Brady Quinn from the Broncos, tight-end Kevin Boss from the Raiders and found an elite right tackle in Eric Winston from Houston. The team could be dangerous next season.
It looks like the era of the Tebows (Tebow-led Broncos) is coming to an end. Tebow could stick around and learn behind one of the greatest players to ever play the quarterback position, but if the Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars or any other club offers a sweet deal that's worthwhile to the Broncos, Tebow and the team interested, his era in Denver will be over as fast as you can say, " sally sold seashells by the seashore".
In addition to inking Peyton Manning to a five year deal worth $96 million, the Broncos also signed safety Mike Adams (formely with the Browns) to a two year contract, which was followed by re-signing linebacker Joe Mays.
A two-down inside linebacker, Mays was third in tackles on the team last season. Denver also re-signed guard Manual Ramirez and linebacker Wesley Woodyard after announcing Manning would be joining the franchise.
In seven starts in 2010, Woodyard, 25, racked up a career-high 97 tackles and forced two fumbles.
San Diego Chargers
The Bolts haven't taken the market by storm, but overall they've struck well during this free agency frenzy.
While a few holes flashed in front of the Chargers before the first few days had passed as star receiver Vincent Jackson took his talents to Tampa Bay, A.J. Smith and company made some heads-up moves, signing Robert Meachem to a four-year, $25.9 million contract and bringing in ex-Bronco wide out Eddie Royal as well with a three year, $13.5 million deal.
San Diego also replaced Mike Tolbert, who took his services to Carolina with ex-Ravens back Le-Ron McClain to a three year deal. McClain also spent some of last season with the Chiefs. In addition, the team applied the mentality first things first, as the Bolts struck a $13.5 million deal for three years with center Nick Hardwick and brought back offensive tackle Jared Gaither on a four-year contract worth $16.5 million.
The team also signed Dante Rosario to a one-year contract and retained Randy McMichael to a two-year deal. San Diego also has offers to free agents defensive end Luis Castillo, fullback Jacob Hester and nose tackle Antonio Garay.
The Chargers would easily be classified as the most active club in the division if not for Manning headed to Denver. Nevertheless, despite the departures of V-Jax and Tobert, this team could be much more explosive next season.
In terms of player personal, Oakland's biggest need entering the off-season were at cornerback and strenthening their offensive line.
After kicking out cornerbacks Stanford Routt and Chris Johnson the Raiders signed Ron Bartell and Shawnte Spencer. While both aging veterans are coming off injuries, they will provide immediate impact to the "Silver and Black" secondary. The added veteran presence will also help Chimdi Chekwa and DeMarcus Van Dyke as they both enter in their sophmore season. In addition Oakland brought back Cooper Carlisie and added Mike Bristal from the Houston Texans to amplify the offensive line.
The cap-stapped Raiders look to continue to grow, instill additional discipline and add more pieces as they go during the offseason. Not having any picks in the upcoming NFL draft till the compensation selection at the tail-end of the third round won't make it easy for Reggie McKenzie and staff, but expect them to pull the trigger on selecting a long term corner and adding a linebacker and a defensive-end through free agency.
For all the teams in the AFC west the eventful off-season will continue. Look ahead to seeing lots of old faces in new places come fall and the NFL draft is just around the corner.
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