Team needs – AFC West version 

Team needs – AFC West version 
Reading Time: 5 minutes.
The AFC West teams have got a chance to catchup with the Chiefs in 2023

Kansas City have had the run of their division since Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes joined forces but could that all be about to end? Some AFC West team needs will have to be fulfilled in the next few weeks for that to happen.


Sean Payton’s contract in Denver is reportedly worth $18 million so he’s already under pressure to win the AFC West. The best way for a coach to get good results is to get players he’s happy with so the Broncos could be set for a bit of a clear out. What we do know is who is out of contract in two weeks and what they lacked last season. 

Team Needs Based On Who Could Leave in Free Agency  

There are 17 unrestricted free agents and five of those are offensive linemen. Nobody was sacked more than Russell Wilson was in 2022. He hit the turf 55 times, the same number of times as Justin Fields did. According to Football Outsiders Denver’s 2023 offensive line were the 20th best overall so they could use some help. 

They’ve got four restricted free agents and three exclusive free agents. One of the restricted free agents is backup quarterback Brett Rypien. Rypien did start four games in Denver last year but he threw two touchdowns and four interceptions so they may not offer him a new contract. Punter Corliss Waitman is an exclusive restricted free agent, he ranked 20th for average distance though so they might decide to find a cheaper option. Only one of the other restricted free agents started any games in 2022. 

Team Needs Based on What They Lacked in 2022 

Javonte Williams’ injury really sunk their season before it began. The team needs an effective replacement, (and they tried seven other backs in 2022), as his loss was really detrimental to their offence. He was only involved in 4 games last season, and he played just 51% of the Broncos’ snaps in 2021. At the very least Denver needs some depth at running back.  

Football Outsiders ranked the Broncos Special Teams as the 29th best unit in the league last season so Payton has to correct that. They were last for kick returns so they should definitely be looking for a new kick returner.  

Brandon McManus only kicked 77.8% of his attempts last season so they should be on the lookout for a new kicker too.  

Trading Bradley Chubb to the Dolphins seemed like a good idea when it happened but Chubb ended the season second on Denver’s sack list despite only playing eight games for them.


Los Angeles were in the middle of the pack in most categories in 2022 and after firing offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi it’s difficult to know how they plan to improve their roster. They really missed Rashawn Slater, Derwin James and Mike Williams when they were injured so depth appears to be their biggest issue.  

Team Needs Based on What They Could Lose in Free Agency 

They’ve got 21 players out of contract in March, and they have -$23 million in cap space so they will have to rework a lot of contracts if they want to bring back some big names. Kyle van Noy, Christian Covington and Morgan Fox are all unrestricted free agents in a few weeks. In all they have four defensive linemen and three linebackers out of contract. Oddly they have two punters hitting free agency too. Both backup quarterbacks will also become free agents. Kick returner and one of their most dynamic receivers Deandre Carter is also hitting free agency in two weeks so new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore may well be wading through YouTube looking for wide receiver draft prospects. 

Team Needs Based on What They Lacked in 2022 

The defense wasn’t as good as the offence in 2022 (and Justin Herbert was playing injured for a couple of months). But the only Chargers defender to start every game was Khalil Mack so what the team needs is better luck with injuries.  

Nobody allowed more yards per carry than Los Angeles in 2022, they averaged 5.4 yards which was 0.2 yards more than the Lions. They recently hired Robert Muschamp from Georgia as a defensive quality control coach, presumably they’ll use his insight to draft some of the Bulldogs stud defenders. If they’re feeling brave, they could trade with the Bears and take Jalen Carter as the number one pick. 

They allowed more passing touchdowns than the Bears and the 11 yards they allowed per pass completion ranked 6th worst, so pass defense is a serious weakness. Joey Bosa only started four games in 2022 so some Edge depth should be pretty high up their shopping list. Only four Chargers made multiple interceptions in 2022 and two of them are out of contract so that’s a huge issue.  

Kansas City Chiefs 

Team Needs Based on What They Could Lose in Free Agency  

Kansas City only has 20 players headed to free agency in a couple of weeks. Three wide receivers, four offensive linemen and two running backs are all out of contract. They currently need to save $8.5 million to become cap compliant so they might not bring back many of those 20. Presumably they’ll do everything they can to re-sign Orlando Brown jr. and Jerrick McKinnon though. Only Travis Kelce caught more touchdown passes than McKinnon and Orlando Brown jr. has only allowed four sacks in two seasons in KC. 

Team Needs Based on What They Lacked Last Season 

Well, they won the Super Bowl, so there weren’t many deficiencies, were there? Nobody allowed more passing touchdowns in 2022 though. This was mainly because only two of their defensive backs were over 25 years old. Early in the season they were still bedding in, they allowed an average of 277 pass yards per game in the first 7 games of the season. That was down to 181 yards per game for the last seven games of the regular season. 

They might look at bringing a younger kicker after Harrison Butker’s inconsistent season. He missed four of the seven long range field goals he attempted in the regular season. He ended the regular season with a 75% success rate. His base salary for 2023 is $3.55 million too so it would save them money. 


Team Needs Based on What They Could Lose in Free Agency 

Everyone knows Derek Carr is leaving Las Vegas, but Jarrett Stidham’s contract expires in two weeks too. They obviously need a starting quarterback and after they’ll probably need a new backup. Stidham started two games in 2022, lost both of them, threw three touchdowns, two interceptions and took seven sacks. All in all, not great.  

Altogether they have 27 free agents and 24 of them are unrestricted so they’re looking at refreshing half the team as part of a rebuild. They’ve currently got $39.5 million to spend.  

The Raiders have got five linebackers headed to free agency, six defensive backs and five defensive linemen and with nine draft picks the defense is going to look much younger next season. 

With Mack Hollins and Keenan Cole both hitting free agency they need a WR2 to play opposite Davante Adams. It seems likely both those experienced options will receive better offers from teams with cap space. 

Team Needs Based on What They Lacked in 2022

The 2022 turned the ball over too much, only three teams threw more interceptions than them. Only one offence conceded more penalties in 2022, the Cardinals (and they had a revolving door of quarterbacks causing false starts all over the place). These things seem more like coaching issues than player problems though.  

Overall, the Raiders offensive line was ranked first by Football Outsiders. Unsurprisingly for a team who had 2022’s leading rusher their run blocking was the best in the league. They were rated eighth for pass blocking too so you’d expect they’ll want to keep that unit together but with Josh Jacobs becoming a free agent and the hunt for two new quarterbacks that will be tricky. 

Maxx Crosby could definitely use some help in the pass rush department, he made 12.5 sacks in 2022. The Raiders only managed 27 in total. They also only made six interceptions and they all came from three players. Two of those players are out of contract. 

They picked a bad time to need two quarterbacks when there are so many holes in their defense. 

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