The AFC West is one of the most interesting divisions in the NFL to keep an eye on in 2021, and it will begin in the offseason. Seemingly every team in the AFC West has the tools to make a playoff run this upcoming season, but only one or two will likely get the chance to do so.
However, there could still be more roster movement ahead of the upcoming season. All four teams in the division have a lot of talent and some position battles. That could result in talented players being left off the roster for other teams to pick up.
Let’s dive into one player each team in the AFC West could release before the new season even kicks off.
Denver Broncos: Kendall Hinton
Kendall Hinton is mostly known for stepping up in 2020 to play quarterback for a game when everyone else at the quarterback position was ruled ineligible due to COVID contact tracing.
Hinton, a 6-foot-0, 195-pound wide receiver has had anything but an easy journey in the NFL, but he’s performed well enough to stick around on the Broncos’ practice squad. He was a former quarterback at Wake Forest before making the transition to wide receiver in the NFL and recently even worked out as a defensive back during Denver’s rookie minicamp. Hinton is showing that he can do anything asked of him, but it still may not be enough to keep him on the roster in 2021.
Kansas City Chiefs: Chad Henne
Chad Henne did a good job in the AFC playoffs to help propel the Chiefs to the Super Bowl following an unforeseen injury to quarterback Patrick Mahomes in a win over the Cleveland Browns, but the fact that he is now 35 years old and the fact that there is a pair of talented young quarterbacks on the depth chart behind him could mean his time in Kansas City is over.
Henne has made a nice living as a reliable clipboard holder throughout his career that has spanned 11 years, but it could be time for him to find a new team. Anthony Gordon and Shane Buechele provide some interesting options behind Mahomes and they could be serviceable backups at a more affordable rate than Chad Henne.
Las Vegas Raiders: Jalen Richard
Jalen Richard has made a solid career from being an athletic receiving back for the Raiders, but he may have to pack his bags and relocate this offseason.
The Raiders have beefed up their running back department in recent years and Richard would have to compete against 2019 first-round pick Josh Jacobs, marquee free agent signing Kenyan Drake, serviceable veteran Theo Riddick, and rookie Trey Ragas at his position, and the odds aren’t stacked in his favor.
He is talented, but the Raiders seem like they’re more interested in going in a different direction. Jon Gruden and company are all about competing in the AFC West and making the playoffs and Richard simply doesn’t move the needle much.
Los Angeles Chargers: Donald Parham
Donald Parham was signed by the Chargers after a breakout season as a tight end in the XFL a few years ago, and he played pretty well in a limited role with the Chargers in 2020. Parham hauled in just 10 receptions in his debut season, but he scored three times and racked up over 150 receiving yards.
There’s a lot to love in Parham’s play style, but the competition he has to square off against this offseason could be too much for him to handle. The Chargers brought in veteran tight end Jared Cook to take over the starting role that was left vacant when Hunter Henry left the team. The team also has guys like Stephen Anderson and rookie Tre McKitty, who are looking like legitimate number two options for the Chargers.
Unfortunately for Parham, he could wind up being the odd man out in Los Angeles.