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Around the AFC West: Roster tweaks continue in free agency

(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

The second week of the new league year was not as active as the first. We still had some signings that were interesting and there were some trades that were executed over the last week. There were also moves in the division that Broncos fans need to keep track of during the offseason.

While the Broncos are falling in some power rankings – after free agency – the teams closest to them are rising on the charts. That, or they’re at the top of the charts because this division includes the world champion Chiefs.

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

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Kansas City Chiefs

Free-agent fullback Anthony Sherman agreed to terms on a one-year contract to re-sign with the Chiefs on Tuesday. A fifth-round pick out of UConn in the 2011 NFL Draft, Sherman has been with the Chiefs for seven seasons. He doesn’t touch the ball that much on offense, but Sherman is a key blocker in short-yardage and goal-line situations. The big veteran fullback is also a quality special teams player. It was a no-brainer decision by the Chiefs to bring him back for another year.

Just like Sherman, free-agent defensive tackle Mike Pennel agreed to terms on a one-year undisclosed contract to re-sign with the Chiefs on Tuesday. Undrafted out of Colorado State-Pueblo in 2014, Pennel found a home with the Chiefs in 2019. He appeared in nine games with Kansas City last year as a run-stuffing defensive tackle. Pennel had interest from the Cowboys but he wanted to defense his Super Bowl title by staying with the Chiefs. He’ll serve a similar role for the Chiefs in 2020.

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Las Vegas Raiders

Free-agent wide receiver Nelson Agholor (Eagles) officially signed with the Raiders on Wednesday. Agholor was a first-round pick for the Eagles back in 2015, but he never played up to his potential and mostly had a disappointing career. Currently, Agholor is No. 3 on the Raiders depth chart behind Tyrell Williams and Hunter Renfrow.

With a fresh start we could see better play from the veteran, but I’m not counting on it. Instead, I expect the Raiders to add a top-tier wide receiver in the 2020 NFL draft. That move would push Agholor further down the depth chart.

Free-agent tight end Nick O’Leary (Jaguars) agreed to terms with the Raiders last Saturday, and this makes the second tight end the team came to an agreement with in free agency. Earlier this year, the Raiders signed veteran Jason Witten to a free-agent deal. That move makes sense as Witten gives you veteran depth behind Darren Waller and Foster Moreau. The move for O’Leary is a bit puzzling.

Last year with two teams, O’Leary only caught 13 passes. He’s mostly a blocker and really just average in that skill set. The Raiders clearly wanted to upgrade the tight end room and they must feel that adding O’Leary does that.

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Los Angeles Chargers

Tyrod Taylor should have no veteran competition to be the starting quarterback for the Chargers next season. The team is not expected to sign or acquire a veteran quarterback this offseason according to the people around the league I talk to. However, those same sources tell me the Chargers are still 100 percent in the mix to select a rookie quarterback in the first round.

The Chargers have the No. 6 overall pick in the 2020 NFL dDaft and could be in the market for a player like Justin Herbert from Oregon. With guys like Cam Newton and Jameis Winston still on the open market, it will be interesting to see if the Chargers change their mind or if they really want to go with Taylor and a first-round rookie quarterback in 2020.

Free-agent linebacker Nick Vigil (Bengals) agreed to terms on an undisclosed contract with the Chargers earlier this week. Vigil played a career-high 1,008 snaps last year for the Bengals, but we could see those numbers drop to about 750 snaps or so in 2020. He is a good player with a nose for the ball, but the Chargers might want to take him off the field on passing downs. It’s a good addition for the team who needs more help at the linebacker position.