Raiders: Josh McDaniels has a tremendous Coach of the Year opportunity
The AFC West got better as a whole
The offseason in 2022 was a phenomenon like we have never seen. The NFL was dropped on its head, as some of the top players at several positions decided they wanted greener pastures. There may have not been as much movement within one division as it was in the AFC West.
The Denver Broncos, which has become one of the weaker teams in the division as of late, while not sporting a productive quarterback since Hall of Famer Peyton Manning was under center – decided to roll the dice in a big way, and brought in Russell Wilson; the former Seattle Seahawk is the definition of a “Superstar”, the quarterback is a 9x Pro Bowl performer, while being a part of two Super Bowl appearances, with one resulting in a ring (also by defeating the… you guessed it, the Denver Broncos).
Wilson reshapes this franchise, and that is just the start of movement within this division.
The Los Angeles Chargers had possibly the busiest offseason of any of the franchises in the league, which is truly saying something. They added the top prize at cornerback in free agency in JC Jackson, while also making a trade for one of the most beloved and talented former Raiders in history in defensive end/linebacker Khalil Mack.
Mack’s best day’s may be behind him due to age and injury, but if he can push past the injuries, adding him on the other side of 4x Pro Bowler Joey Bosa, could give the Chargers one of the most potent and dangerous pass-rushing tandems in the league. For a team that fell a game short of the playoffs (a game in which the Raiders decided this), the Chargers on paper, look like potentially the top dog in this now dangerous division.
The Kansas City Chiefs had on paper, the worst offseason in the AFC West. After being forced to trade star wide receiver Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins, the franchise did not have much cap space to make a varying degree of moves. The biggest move in the offseason was bringing in receiver Juju Smith-Schuster; who despite only 25 years old, will likely never live up to the play of the speedy Hill. Although the Chiefs still are the top dogs of the division and have won six straight divisional crowns.
Adding in all of the new talent in the division, and just the overall AFC in general, the Raiders have a tough road ahead. And although they are coming off a season in which they did make a playoff appearance, the expectations from many around the league and the media is that other teams in the division have either matched or surpassed the Silver and Black in terms of expectations.