AFC Notes: Chargers, Bills, Dolphins, Jets

The Chargers appear to be contemplating the post-Philip Rivers era in San Diego, as they take a closer look at Oregon signal-caller Marcus Mariota today. After working out Mariota, the team’s brass will head to Los Angeles to put UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley through a workout of his own, tweets Ian Rapoport of

GM Tom Telesco and head coach Mike McCoy have repeatedly stated they want Rivers to retire as a Charger, so there may be no need to identify his successor quite yet. But Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune believes this offseason is the prime time for San Diego to trade Rivers in a deal to snag Mariota, arguing that all the factors in play point to it being a win-win move for the franchise and for the veteran quarterback, who is entering the final year of his contract.

We still have a little more than two weeks until the draft gets underway, so it will be interesting to see if the Rivers trade rumors pick up steam or die down as April 30 approaches. In the meantime, here are a few more notes from across the AFC:

  • Free agent wide receiver Brad Smith is paying a visit to Buffalo to meet with the Bills, as Mike Rodak of details. Smith played for Rex Ryan on the Jets, but it’s not clear if there’s a spot for him on Ryan’s new club, with players like Percy Harvin, Marcus Easley, and Marcus Thigpen already in the mix as potentially versatile offensive weapons, returners, or special-teamers.
  • Given where we’ve seen running backs drafted in the last couple years, it would be surprise to see one go as high as No. 14 overall this year. Nonetheless, the Dolphins, who hold that pick, are hosting Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon for a visit next week, per Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (via Twitter).
  • Outside pass rushers Bud Dupree and Shane Ray will be visiting the Jets, reports Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (Twitter links). Although there has been plenty of chatter linking Mariota to New York, the team is in a good spot at No. 6 to add a top pass rushing prospect.
  • The Steelers hosted Washington State defensive tackle Xavier Cooper, Ohio State tight end Jeff Heuerman, and UAB tight end Kennard Backman on pre-draft visits today, tweets’s Scott Brown. Cooper met with the Saints in New Orleans yesterday, but we haven’t heard much to date about the tight ends.
  • Florida State cornerback Ronald Darby is visiting the Colts today, according to Rapoport (via Twitter).
  • On the heels of the Raiders‘ agreement with free agent wide receiver Michael Crabtree, Bill Williamson of shares a few initial thoughts on the deal, outlining why the former Niner is worth the risk on a one-year investment.
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