AFC Notes: Broncos, Colts, Raiders

Here’s the latest from around the AFC as Friday wraps up:

  • Broncos defensive lineman Antonio Smith missed voluntary offseason workouts because of an ongoing investigation into criminal abuse allegations against him in Texas. However, he could be with the Broncos when veterans report to their training camp Thursday, Nicki Jhabvala and Troy Renck of the Denver Post report. The 10-year veteran spent last season with AFC West rival Oakland, racking up three sacks (giving him 44.5 for his career), before signing with Denver as a free agent.
  • Kansas City’s Justin Houston signed the richest deal ever for a linebacker earlier this month (six years, $101.5MM with $52.5MM guaranteed), which sets the bar for the Broncos’ Von Miller‘s next contract, writes Jhabvala. “I guarantee you Von thinks he deserves Justin Houston money,” Joel Corry of CBS Sports, an ex-agent, told Jhabvala. By career sack total alone, Miller has a case: He has 49 in four seasons, while Houston has 48.5 in the same amount of years.
  • It’s always risky to expect big things from a player returning from a torn Achilles’, which Colts pass rusher Robert Mathis is doing this season, but head coach Chuck Pagano has high hopes for the 34-year-old linebacker. “He will make a huge impact this season,” Pagano said, according to ESPN’s Ed Werder (via Twitter). Mathis missed all of last season after leading the league in sacks with 19.5 in 2013.
  • In other Colts news, Kevin Bowen of the team’s official website wrote of the concerns centering on the club’s offensive line as the season nears. Indy needs a major bounce-back season from veteran right tackle Gosder Cherilus, who struggled with injuries and poor play last year, and for newly signed Todd Herremans to be the answer at right guard.
  • Running back Latavius Murray was one of the Raiders’ few standouts last season, rushing for 424 yards on 82 attempts (a sterling 5.2 per-carry average) during his first year of action. Oakland is counting on him to be its No. 1 back this season, writes Scott Bair of That would mean a significant increase in workload for the 2013 sixth-round pick.
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