AFC Notes: Rivers, Titans, J. Houston, Colts

As the NFL draft draws closer, rumors of a trade that would send Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers to the Titans continue to swirl. According to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link), there is a strong likelihood that Rivers and the 17th overall pick (and perhaps more pieces) will end up heading to Tennessee in exchange for the second overall selection. The Chargers would then draft Oregon signal caller Marcus Mariota to replace Rivers.

Here’s more on Rivers and the rest of the AFC:

  • Jason Fitzgerald of the Sporting News writes that now is the time for the Chargers to deal Rivers. Doing so would enable the Bolts to get out from under the high-paying deal Rivers, who is entering a contract year, will get sometime prior to the 2016 campaign and replace him with a much younger player, Mariota, with franchise QB potential. Rivers, 33, is 12 years older than Mariota.
  • The Chiefs used the franchise tag to retain linebacker Justin Houston in February after long-term contract negotiations proved unsuccessful, and the sides haven’t resumed discussions since then, reports Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. If Kansas City fails to lock up Houston by July 15, it’ll have to wait until the end of next season to restart talks on a new deal. In the meantime, another team could sign Houston to an offer sheet, but if that happens and the Chiefs don’t match the offer, it would cost Houston’s new club a first-round pick in both 2016 and ’17. The four-year veteran may be worth it, having racked up three straight double-digit-sack seasons and a league-best 22 in 2014.
  • Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star took a pre-draft look at the Colts’ projected starting lineup for 2015. Holder notes that the team has potential weaknesses along both lines (center, right guard and right tackle on offense; nose tackle on defense) and at free safety. All could be areas for the Colts to improve via the draft.
  • Broncos special teams ace and backup safety David Bruton has started just five a possible 91 games during his career, but Mike Klis of the Denver Post writes that the 27-year-old wants to change that in 2015. The Broncos lost free safety Rahim Moore in free agency and are down to Darian Stewart and Bradley Roby at the position. Bruton hopes to be in the mix for the No. 1 job. “I envision myself starting,” said the six-year veteran. “I’m dreaming big this season, especially (in a) contract year.”
  • The Browns will visit with Northwestern quarterback Trevor Siemian on Sunday and Monday, per Ian Rapoport of (Twitter link). Siemian accounted for 12 touchdowns in 2014 (seven passing, five rushing) before suffering a torn ACL in November.
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