AFC West Notes: Chargers, Raiders, Chiefs

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, set to enter his age-35 season and his 14th in the NFL, doesn’t see retirement on the horizon. “I don’t want to hang on at the end and just be a guy that’s hanging on,” Rivers told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “But if I still feel like I can help a team and I enjoy it the way I do and more importantly, if the team feels that I can help them. … I don’t see myself shutting it down any time real soon.” Rivers, who still has three years remaining on his contract, posted the fifth 30-touchdown and eighth 4,000-yard campaign of his career last season, though he also tossed a personal-worst 21 interceptions as a member of an injury-plagued, five-win team.

  • Like Rivers, Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski would like to continue his career into the foreseeable future. One key difference between the two is that Janikowski is already on the cusp of his 40s. Nevertheless, the 39-year-old’s aiming to remain the Raiders’ kicker when they relocate to Las Vegas in 2020. “I hope so, that’s my goal,” he said, via the Associated Press. “That’s not my decision.” Janikowski will be 42 when the Raiders move, which isn’t an unprecedented age for a kicker to play at (the Colts’ Adam Vinatieri is 44, and ex-Raider George Blanda lasted until he was 48, notes the AP), but it would make for a remarkable run with one franchise. Janikowski is entering his 18th year with the Raiders, who raised eyebrows when the then-Al Davis-led organization chose him 17th overall in the 2000 draft. The ex-Florida State Seminole has generally been effective for the Raiders since, including when he made 29 of 35 field goals last year.
  • One of Janikowski’s Raiders teammates, quarterback Derek Carr, is a candidate to receive a record contract worth $25MM-plus per year prior to the season. But Bill Barnwell of ESPN.com is somewhat skeptical of Carr and the Raiders, arguing that it will be tough for either to replicate their 2016 performances this year. Carr will have difficulty avoiding negative regression on both his paltry interception rate (1.1 percent) and lofty fourth-quarter comeback total (seven) from last season, while the Raiders probably won’t win 12 games again unless they dramatically improve their point differential, Barnwell contends. Oakland only outscored its opposition by 31 points last season, leading to a Pythagorean Expectation of 8.7 wins. Additionally, the club went a hard-to-sustain 8-1 in games decided by seven or fewer points.
  • Ravens wide receiver Jeremy Maclin told PFT Live on Thursday that the manner in which the Chiefs notified him of his release earlier this month left him “upset” and “shocked.” Chiefs general manager John Dorsey informed Maclin via voicemail that the team was moving on from him after two years, 131 receptions and 10 touchdowns. Maclin also confirmed that the Chiefs tried to trade him and never asked him to take a pay cut, as Mike Garafolo of NFL.com reported two weeks ago.
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