Thursday 24 August 2017 / 03:07 PM

FREE AGENCY GRADES: AFC WEST

We’ve almost seen each of the free agents find new homes, and mostly figured out where each team is at going into the NFL Draft. We’ve got a roundup for each division after almost two full weeks (and most of the big signings in the books), and we’ll be putting them out over the next week or so. According to the NFL’s “Top 101 Free Agents” chart, 83% have found new homes, so we’ve got a solid look at who is going where.

Next up we’ve got the AFC West, who featured the best pound-for-pound division in football, and looked like they’d have three legitimate Super Bowl contenders before Derek Carr went down and the Broncos collapsed. Now, they’ll all look for better fortunes in 2017, and the Chargers will look to shake up the pack.

Denver Broncos

The Broncos have had an oddly quiet offseason by their standards. DeMarcus Ware retiring is a huge blow to that defense, but one that wasn’t necessarily unexpected. They also lost out on Tony Romo, and look to be headed to the 2017 season with who they went with a year ago in Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian. Other than that, Russell Okung’s departure will sting that offensive line, but probably won’t kill it. Adding Ronald Leary from Dallas helps, but he didn’t see a lot of meaningful snaps during his tenure, and likely won’t be starting for the Broncos right away. Pretty lukewarm expect for the Ware loss.

Grade: C

Kansas City Chiefs

It’s the winter of moving on for the Chiefs it seems, with the big news out of Kansas City that they are moving on in all likelihood from Jamaal Charles. Charles never ending battle with injuries made the Chiefs balk at a long term extension, and they’ll now turn to a really bare cupboard at running back, especially with the team also letting go of Knile Davis. Dontari Pope is also gone, with Bennie Logan taking his place on the defensive line. That running back position scares me, with Alex Smith throwing it forty times a game just really not seeming like a solid strategy. So where’s the runners going to come from?

Grade: C-

San Diego Chargers

Speaking of overtly quiet, the Chargers had one of the most “meh” offseason period I’ve seen so far. They added Russell Okung, who can really be a difference maker on this offensive line almost right away. And I really like the resigning of Jahleel Addae, and think he’s a future stud at safety if he can figure out his cover issues. But losing Danny Woodhead, injuries notwithstanding, hurts. He was one of Rivers favorite targets, and a hell of a safety net. His plays outside the makeup of the designed plays were a favorite of mine, and of course he winds up in New England to do it for a QB that just of course needs yet another weapon.

Chargers: D+

Oakland Raiders

Well, the obvious goal of the offseason was to get Derek Carr feeling some semblance of health in time for training camp. And while we can’t control that, Carr is ahead of schedule. Aside from that, the loss of Malcolm Smith will hurt the linebacker group. Other than that, the loss of Murray from the running back position was shocking, as it looks like they just weren’t prepared to pay him what was needed. That means Carr needs a new target and player to get him out of stuck situations. On the plus side, he’s got Jared Cook to throw to now, which is every bit as scary as it sounds. Also, they nabbed Cordarrelle Patterson, who was solid in Minnesota, and thinks Carr came help him become a premier receiver in the league.

Grade: C-

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About the author

Austin Albertson

Austin is CBS' senior NFL and NBA analyst, bringing you commentary on everything between the lines and inside the hashes, from the film room to the scoreboard.

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