At this point of the offseason, I'm itching for any sort of football related news to get me fired up about the 2017 season. Fortunately, training camp is just a few weeks away, and while the NFL offseason hasn't delivered as many headlines as the NBA offseason, there's a plethora of information to get caught up on.
The Kansas City Chiefs dropped a bomb earlier this week with a couple important announcements that will impact the future of the organization. Also, not only did the Oakland Raiders have a handful of players make the NFL Top 100 Players list, but so did the Denver Broncos.
Let's take a look back at what went on in the AFC West over the past week.
Yes, everyone is aware that the Broncos have one of the best synchronized defenses in the league, but it's the players within that scheme that make it work. One of those players happens to be cornerback Chris Harris, Jr., who has been a consistent player in the NFL during his six-year career. In 2016, Harris made his first Pro Bowl, and First-Team All-Pro appearance in the same year, after totaling 63 tackles, two interceptions, and a fumble recovery. These statistics attributed to his No. 63 ranking on the NFL Top 100 list, but dropped him nine spots from his ranking a season ago.
On the opposite side of the field, fellow cornerback Aqib Talib checked in at the No. 37 spot. Similar to his cohort, Talib made the Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro for the first time in the same season. His aggressive style of play has stood out in the league for several years now, which is why he's noted as one of the top defenders in the game.
Taking the cake for the team though is none other than linebacker Von Miller. While Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack walked away at the end of the season with the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year award, Miller finds himself as the No. 2 player on the vaunted list. Miller is a wrecking ball against opposing offensive lines, and his versatility helps him stand out. The debate whether Mack is better than Miller will most-likely continue to circulate, but from a spectator's perspective, it'll be fun to see the Broncos and Raiders go toe-to-toe this season.
Kansas City Chiefs
Shortly before Raiders quarterback Derek Carr took to Twitter to announce he had come to terms on a contract extension with the team last week, the Chiefs announced Thursday afternoon that Head Coach Andy Reid signed a contract extension as well. During his four seasons with the Chiefs, Reid has led them to an overall record of 43-21, with the team making consecutive playoff appearances the past two seasons.
Coincidently, following the news of Reid's extension, the Chiefs and General Manager John Dorsey agreed to part ways. Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said, "I notified John that we would not be extending his contract beyond the 2017 season, and after consideration, we felt it was in his best interests and the best interests of the team to part ways now."
Hunt continued, "This decision, while a difficult one, allows John to pursue other opportunities as we continue our preparations for the upcoming season and the seasons to come. My family and I sincerely appreciate John's work over the last four-and-a-half years, and we wish him nothing but the best in the future."
The Raiders and Chiefs are slated to kickoff for the first time in Week 7 at the Oakland Alameda-County Coliseum.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Bolts haven't been in Los Angeles for more than a few months, but it didn't take long for tight end Antonio Gates to make himself feel welcome. Sure, the Chargers have resided in Southern California for years, but San Diego isn't exactly around the corner from Los Angeles.
Gates, a 15-year-veteran, has totaled 897 receptions, 11,192 receiving yards, and 111 touchdowns in his career, and made a name for himself as one of the greatest tight ends to touch the gridiron. In honor of his recent arrival to Los Angeles, the Dodgers thought it would be proper to have him throw out the ceremonial first pitch, prior to the game's start last Thursday.
As the Chargers get settled into their new home, it'll be unique to watch their integration into the L.A. sports community.