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NFL free agency grades for the AFC West after the first weekend

It’s still early in the offseason, but plenty of big moves have been made in free agency. We take a look at each division to see how they stack up so far.

Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs looks to pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium on February 07, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The 2021 NFL offseason is in full swing, as the majority of free agents have found their homes for this season. More signings, trades, the draft and possible holdouts are on the horizon, but teams have made their first claims on what their team will look like as they take on the 2021 season.

To gauge where each team is so far this offseason, we’ll take you through each division to see how each team has done in their quest for a championship.

AFC East

Kansas City Chiefs

Free agents added/retained

G Joe Thuney
DE Taco Charlton
G Kyle Long

Free agents lost

OT Mitchell Schwartz
OT Eric Fischer
WR Sammy Watkins (currently unsigned)
RB Damien Williams

The Chiefs don’t have a ton of salary cap to work with this offseason, but there is no doubt they need all the help they can get at offensive line after letting both Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz go. The signings of Joe Thuney and Kyle Long are both strong moves for the line and a good start. With so much of their offense relying on keeping Patrick Mahomes untouched, they shouldn’t stop there.

They will likely lose Sammy Watkins, but he wasn’t much help last season. Grabbing some depth at wide receiver might be useful, as nobody really stepped up with Watkins hurt last season, but finding some help to stop the run is likely the more prudent allocation of resources moving forward.

Grade: B+

Las Vegas Raiders

Free agents added/retained

DE Yannick Ngakoue
WR John Brown
RB Kenyan Drake
DT Solomon Thomas
LB Nichalas Morrow
G Richie Incognito

Free agents lost

C Rodney Hudson
WR Nelson Agholor
WR Tyrell Williams
G Gabe Jackson (trade)
T Trent Brown (trade)

The Raiders have done a number on their offensive line this offseason, as they’ve offloaded Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson and Trent Brown while not doing a whole lot to replace them. They aren’t completely depleted, but they’ll likely need to draft a right tackle who can start quickly.

The addition of Yannick Ngakoue is probably the best move they made, as they need someone who can get to the quarterback after ranking 27th in pass rush per Pro Football Focus. With Nelson Agholor leaving in free agency, the team brought in John Brown, who makes for a good replacement. But, adding Kenyan Drake to the mix with so many other needs on the team seems an odd choice. Drake is a good back, but he isn’t anything special. Maybe Josh Jacobs’ is already breaking down from injuries, but adding competition through the draft seems like the more prudent move.

Grade: C-

Los Angeles Chargers

Free agents added/retained

C Corey Linsley
CB Michael Davis
TE Jared Cook
OL Matt Feiler
DB Michael Davis

Free agents lost

LB Denzel Perryman
QB Tyrod Taylor
TE Hunter Henry
DB Rayshawn Jenkins
DB Casey Hayward

The Chargers, as usual, needed to upgrade their offensive line and did a good job by bringing in center Corey Linsley. He should be a strong, consistent presence for Justin Herbert as he tries to take his game up another notch and get his team in to the playoffs.

Casey Hayward’s injuries caught up with him and the team let him go, but they re-signed Michael Davis, who showed he can be a top corner in the league. Replacing Hunter Henry with Jared Cook might not be a one for one trade, but Cook should fit Herbert’s style of play and do well for them

Grade: A

Denver Broncos

Free agents added/retained

DE Shelby Harris
S Justin Simmons
S Kareem Jackson
CB Kyle Fuller
OLB Von Miller
CB Ronald Darby
RB Mike Boone

Free agents lost

RB Phillip Lindsay

The Broncos did a bang-up job retaining and adding players for their pass defense. They should easily be a Top 10 unit with upside to be near the top. They probably overpaid for Miller, but he should still be a positive player. Overall, the Broncos defense isn’t going to be a problem if they stay healthy.

What could be a problem is Drew Lock. He did not have a good 2020 and they aren’t going to find an upgrade unless a miracle happens. The offense overall has a lot of talent and if Lock can take any kind of step forward, they should be able to compete.

Grade: A