Surprising Roster Moves And Reactions – AFC West
Judgment day fell upon us, as September 1st came and went and the NFL 53-man rosters were released. A day where lives are made and changed forever. Some moves are shocking, others not so much, but let’s dive into the AFC West where A LOT happened this past weekend.
Chargers – Roster Grade: C+
Starting with the Chargers, they were virtually a kicker away from being a 10- win team and clinching the playoffs. Kicker Roberto Aguayo was a huge question mark coming into the season, after having a streaky performance last year. With the addition of Caleb Sturgis its to no surprise to see him gone.
The big news that broke on Sunday, TE Antonio Gates is returning for his 16th season in the NFL. No surprise here with the chemistry he and Philip Rivers have created over the years. He will be a great red zone threat with the loss of Hunter Henry.
We've agreed to terms with Antonio Gates. pic.twitter.com/bHTo7Lq4L3
— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) September 2, 2018
Chiefs – Roster Grade: B+
Moving onto to Kansas City, the most obvious change since last season is QB Patrick Mahomes taking over the helm for Andy Reid. Even though Patrick is the solidified QB #1, it was surprising to see the Chiefs carry three QB’s with the initial roster release on Saturday (Maholmes, Henne, McGloin). Soon after, news broke Sunday that Matt McGloin was going to be released, so the team could sign former Bills OL Ike Boettger.
“He came in with the right attitude.” Veach said of Williams, who topped off a fantastic pre-season with a TD reception last Thursday versus the Packers. “He came in and ready to work. That really intrigued us about him. With all these decisions, a lot of this goes into the background of these guys. He was a blue-collar guy. The kid is smart. He works hard and he does a great job in pass protection.”
When asked about Niemann, who captivated since the start of pre-season, Veach thought his execution was not something to miss out on.
“You couldn’t ignore the tape,” Veach said of Niemann. “That was it. We actually had two teams that called us about trading for (Niemann). So we knew he wouldn’t make it through the waiver wire claim. We knew he wouldn’t make it to the practice squad.”
Broncos – Roster Grade: B
The Broncos had some interesting moves on Saturday and Sunday. First, their decision to keep third string QB Paxton Lynch while still paying him $2.5 million this year is crazy. But then, on Sunday, Elway decided to cut Lynch and sign seasoned QB Kevin Hogan from Washington.
The other big surprise that came out of this weekend for Denver was the release of WR Jordan Leslie. After back to back years of leading his team (Cleveland in 2017, Denver in 2018) in receptions/receiving yards in the preseason, the team decided to part ways. Unfortunately, the Broncos are too deep at the WR position and so it was a long shot from the beginning that he would make the team. When a team spends two draft picks on receivers in back to back drafts, the writing is on the wall.
Back to back years of leading a team in receptions/reception yards and still being cut… Crazy business
— Jordan Leslie (@Jles9) August 31, 2018
Fan favorite, RB De’Angelo Henderson, was also released and quickly signed to the Jets practice squad. He flashed in the 2017 preseason as well as this year’s preseason, but could not seem to move up the depth chart and was jumped by undrafted rookie Phillip Lindsay.
Raiders – Roster Grade: D
Last but not least, onto Oakland where the biggest news of the weekend happened with the trade of Khalil Mack. The Raiders virtually had to move on from Mack after not being able to match the money that he was asking for and got two first round picks in return.
Trade official, source tells ESPN:
Bears get: Khalil Mack, a 2020 second-round round pick and a conditional 2020 fifth-round pick.
Raiders get: 2019 first-round pick, 2020 first-round pick, 2020 third-round pick, 2019 sixth-round pick.
So Bears get back second-round pick, too
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 1, 2018
The Raiders also solidified the backup QB spot over the weekend. A.J. McCarron was brought in on Sunday to back up Derek Carr who was injured a majority of last season. After, last season being virtually finished when Carr was injured, McCarron will hopefully be the solid back up Oakland needs after a short hiatus in Buffalo.
Finally, after trading a third-round pick to acquire Martavis Bryant, the team announced his release. Bryant is dealing yet again with the substance abuse policy, but this is just another head-scratching decision by the Raiders front office.