1 ideal late free agency addition for each team in the AFC West

AFC West
NFL Analysis Network

The AFC West has been a one-team division in recent years. The Kansas City Chiefs have been dominant at the top of the division with four-straight division titles and two-consecutive appearances in the Super Bowl, with one victory. With their current group of core players, it is unlikely that is going to change anytime soon.

Patrick Mahomes signed the largest contract in NFL history last year. This means he is going to be in a Chiefs’ uniform for a long time and that will keep the team near the top of the league. Both Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill are locked up and the Chiefs are in a good position with Andy Reid as head coach. At this time, teams like the Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders are looking to find a way to rebuild.

The Broncos have been unable to land a franchise quarterback. Drew Lock is not the answer and now they will see if Teddy Bridgewater can be that bridge until they land their next long-term option. Jon Gruden has to get the Raiders in order in many ways before they have a chance at competing. As for the Los Angeles Chargers, they seem to have their quarterback in place with Justin Herbert and it is time to build around him moving forward.

All NFL teams are preparing to report to training camp if they have not already but the front offices will still be busy looking at potential homes. Here is one more of that each team in the AFC West could make prior to the start of the regular season.

Denver Broncos: KJ Wright

The Broncos have become known for their defense in recent years. They have been solid on that side of the ball while attempting to build the offense. This is why Denver went heavy on receivers in the 2020 NFL Draft. They are still looking for that long-term option under center but could solidify the defense even further by adding one of the top remaining free agents.

KJ Wright has spent his entire 10-year career with the Seattle Seahawks. He has been a consistent starter since entering the league. Wright has played all 16 games in a season five times in the last seven years and has put up big numbers while doing so. Wright has totaled 100 or more tackles five times in his career and set a new career-high in 2019 with 132. Wright would fit well in the middle of the defense for the Broncos and give them another player to help defend some explosive offenses in the division.

The Broncos need to fill some other big holes if they want to compete but Wright is still available and is worth a look. At this point, it would not be too expensive and the reward could be huge.

Kansas City Chiefs: Todd Gurley

The Chiefs already tried the LeSean McCoy experiment so why not Todd Gurley? It is clear that the Los Angeles Rams are not going to sign Gurley — even after losing Cam Akers to a torn Achilles. This means he is free to sign and the Chiefs are one of the best teams to join.

Do you believe in Clyde Edwards-Helaire as a starter? The jury is still out. He could have a high ceiling but the Chiefs would benefit from having a veteran behind him. There is no depth in Kansas City at the running-back position since Damien Williams is now with the Chicago Bears. The skill set of Gurley would transition well to what Reid likes to do. He can catch the ball out of the backfield and this gives the offense endless possibilities. Reid is a head coach that likes his running backs and Gurley could join the group and revamp his career.

The Chiefs do not need much help offensively but it never hurts to be aggressive and add some talented players. Gurley should jump at this opportunity if it presents itself moving forward. His presence would just add to their likelihood of winning the AFC West.

Las Vegas Raiders: Golden Tate

The Raiders have taken an interesting approach with their receiving corps. Henry Ruggs III is all of a sudden the No. 1 receiver. Las Vegas made him the first receiver drafted in what was viewed as a deep class in 2020. Bryan Edwards and John Brown complete the position but Derek Carr could always use some more help.

That is where a veteran like Golden Tate could come into play. Tate was a failed experiment by the New York Giants and could look to rejuvenate his career with the Raiders. There is some depth in Las Vegas with Hunter Renfrow and Willie Snead IV but Tate would bring a new dynamic. He is a possession receiver that has experience as a No. 1 threat. Tate would not have to be the focal point of the offense which might take some pressure off. Tate has struggled with injuries in recent years and this has made some believe that he is past his prime. Tate could have some good years left in the right system.

The Raiders need to make something happen and soon. It seems like every year is the same cycle of strong starts and collapses down the stretch. If the Raiders want to change the trend, they could look to make another move or two before the start of the regular season to help them compete in the AFC West.

Los Angeles Chargers: Mitchell Schwartz

The Los Angeles Chargers have made an effort to rebuild their offensive line and it is looking like a success. Justin Herbert was named the 2020 Offensive Rookie of the Year after an incredible season. The Chargers believe they have their next franchise quarterback and putting together the offensive line to protect him was clearly a priority.

Rashawn Slater was taken in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Los Angeles landed arguably the best offensive line prospect this year. Slater was being put in the same category as Penei Sewell in the days leading up to the draft. Bryan Bulaga and Corey Linsley will also make up part of the offensive line. Why not add another veteran in Mitchell Schwartz? At one time, Schwartz was viewed as one of the best guards in the league. He would solidify the offensive line for the Chargers this season. 

This signing would have some emotional attachment to it as well. Schwartz is a former member of the Chiefs and it would sting a bit for fans to see him in Los Angeles. This is a win-win situation for the Chargers and one that would help in their quest of competing in the AFC West division.