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Around the AFC West: Potential holdouts and roster additions

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

The Broncos started training camp on Thursday and the news items for the team are already hot, with so much happening in just one day. It’s going to be fun to see things develop for the Broncos as training camp rolls on.

The rest of the AFC West starts training camp in about a week. It’s kind of the calm before the storm for these three teams, but there’s still a few news items to go over with the Broncos main rivals.

Let’s take a spin around the AFC West to see what the competition is up to.

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Kansas City Chiefs

Most of the news about the Chiefs still involves wide receiver Tyreek Hill, but there are some other news items to monitor. Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones has not made any progress in contract extension talks with the team leading up to training camp, according to my sources. There is a deadline for Jones as he needs to report by August 6 to receive an accrued season toward free agency.

I so wanted the Broncos to select Jones back in the 2016 NFL Draft. They would’ve had to move up to get him (or just taken him in the first round instead of Paxton Lynch), but instead they saw him get away and added defensive end Adam Gotsis in that round. Jones has become one of the best pass-rushing defensive ends in the league and is in the final year of his rookie contract. He skipped work this offseason as he was looking to get a new long-term deal. No progress has been made, but the Chiefs should find a way to work something out.

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Los Angeles Chargers

Last week, we learned Chargers starting running back Melvin Gordon was going to hold out of training camp unless he got a new deal from the team. They aren’t in training camp until July 24, but Gordon seems to be sticking to his convictions.

He told ESPN in an interview earlier this week that his teammates “have his back” in this contract dispute. That was exactly the case on social media when people started pointing out that the Chargers were not worse off without Gordon when he missed time in the past.

The Chargers would be unlikely to get much in return for Gordon if he was put on the trade block. Looking over the league rosters, there’s really only one team that stands out when it comes to needing running back talent and that’s the Buccaneers.

Tampa Bay has Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones competing for their top spot, but could use an upgrade. Reaching out to people around the team, I was told that trading for Gordon would likely come with a price tag that is too high. However, I was told that they might be interested in Browns running back Duke Johnson if the price is right.

If Gordon can’t be traded away, and the team was fine without him last season, then perhaps they’ll let him hold out through training camp and perhaps even into the regular season.

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Oakland Raiders

The Raiders made a couple of roster moves this week. Free agent guard Jonathan Cooper signed with the team on Monday. This transaction comes as a direct response since the Raiders found out that starting offensive guard Richie Incognito was suspended for the first two games of the regular season. Cooper was a top-10 pick for the Cardinals in the 2013 NFL Draft, but he has never played up to his potential and is now a journeyman offensive lineman. Injuries are the main reason Cooper has struggled to make much of an impact as a pro on several teams. He is currently recovering from a biceps procedure this offseason and might not be long for the roster when Incognito is back from his suspension.

The Raiders also added for AAF wide receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El on Thursday. Pierson-El played for the Salt Lake Stallions and led the team with recorded 36 receptions for 414 yards. He was undrafted out of Nebraska in 2018 and spent some time with the Redskins and even had a stint in the Canadian Football League with the Montreal Alouettes. Measuring in at 5-foot-9, 195 pounds, Pierson-El is a quick receiver who can make defenders miss after the catch or as a return man.