AFC West Update: Free Agency Edition

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The time between the end of the NFL season and free agency is a bit of a dead period, sure you have the NFL Scouting Combine, but for the most part there’s not much going on.

Fortunately, those days are behind us.

The 2018 NFL year officially began Wednesday, coinciding with the start of the free agency period, which opened at 1:00 p.m. PST. Compared to the NBA offseason, the NFL usually pales in comparison, but this year things have been different. From blockbuster trades, to Pro Bowl players joining new teams via free agency, it’s been wild.

Now that it’s been a full 24 hours, and some deals have been finalized, let’s take a look at the newest players to join the AFC West.

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* Denver Broncos*

There’s a new man under center in the Mile High City, and his name is Case Keenum. That’s right, the man who played an important role in the Minnesota Viking’s playoff berth, and their improbable postseason run, is now joining the Broncos. Keenum joining the Oakland Raiders division rival might not strike fear into the hearts of opponents, but the man has proven he can get the job done.

Keenum has bounced around the league during his six seasons in the NFL, playing with the Texans, Rams, and Vikings. Over his career, he’s thrown for 8,771 passing yards, 46 touchdowns, and 27 interceptions, while completing 61.9 percent of his passes, and owns an overall record of 20-18.

Now, you may or may not – most likely not – be asking yourself; “what happened to Trevor Siemian?”

Well, my friends, Siemian appears to be headed out of the division, where he’ll join Keenum’s former team, the Vikings. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Wednesday the former Northwestern Wildcat would join the team via trade.

Even though the Broncos have a new quarterback, don’t be surprised if they select another signal-caller in the upcoming draft.

The team also retained inside linebacker Todd Davis, who received a three-year contract extension.

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* Kansas City Chiefs*

The Chiefs just combined two of the best deep threat receivers in the league, as the team announced Wednesday it had officially signed wide out Sammy Watkins. I think it goes without saying Tyreek Hill is one of the most dynamic players in the league, as he’s pieced together an impressive highlight reel burning defensive backs over the last couple seasons. Now he’ll be paired alongside Watkins, who has established himself as a high-quality receiver when healthy.

I’ll admit the Chiefs have a lot of talent on the offensive side of the ball with Kareem Hunt, Travis Kelce, Watkins, and Hill, but with a new, unexperienced, quarterback in Patrick Mahomes II as the starter, it’ll be interesting to see what happens.

Also returning to Chiefs Kingdom, is former University of Oregon Duck De’Anthony Thomas, who’s served as a quality special teams player for them.

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* Los Angeles Chargers*

Another lock-down corner is locked up for the foreseeable future.

The Chargers are extending cornerback Casey Hayward’s contract for another three years. Hayward is coming off back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons, totaling 11 interceptions, 42 passes defensed, one touchdown, and 97 tackles in the process.

Every time the Raiders have gone toe-to-toe with the Bolts the 28 year old has brought his “A” game. Going forward, the Silver and Black will have their hands full when facing the self-declared best cornerback in the league. On a defense that already has a dominant pass rush, they’ll continue to receive help in the secondary.

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