AFC West Notes: Chiefs, Broncos, Mack

Having traded away a cornerback who was probably a top-three player on their roster, the Chiefs are in need of defensive help after ranking as the No. 30 DVOA unit with Marcus Peters in the fold last season. Although Kansas City signed Anthony Hitchens and Xavier Williams and traded for Kendall Fuller, the two-time defending AFC West champs have needs across their defense. But they lack a first-round pick after trading it to the Bills for the right to select Patrick Mahomes. Brett Veach, whose team’s first pick sits at No. 54, has not ruled out a big move in his first draft as GM.

I think all cards are on the table,” Veach said, via Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star. “If there’s that guy who we thought was a top-10 pick and he’s there at 28, we have to be a least prepared and we have to have dialogue throughout this process. That’s why we have to start calling teams now and letting them know that we’re always open for business.”

The Chiefs acquired an extra fourth-round pick this year and a 2019 second-rounder from the Rams for their All-Pro cornerback and a 2018 third-rounder in the Alex Smith swap. The additional selections could be used as ammo in case this sort of scenario arises next weekend.

Here’s the latest from the AFC West:

  • While trading down is a firm option for the Broncos at No. 5, Mike Klis of 9News notes that a member of the Sam Darnold/Saquon Barkley/Bradley Chubb trio remaining on the board would likely mean Denver stays and selects which one is left. Of this troika, Chubb seems like the player who has the best chance of remaining available by that point. Illustrating John Elway‘s interest in locking this position down, the Broncos used a first-round pick on Shane Ray in 2015 with Von Miller in the fold and with DeMarcus Ware having two years left on his deal. Ray and Shaquil Barrett remain under contract through 2018, with the former’s fifth-year option decision looming.
  • Ray’s third season did not go as planned, with an IR stay nullifying a sizable portion of it. After recording eight sacks in 2016, Ray registered one last season. The outside linebacker revealed, via The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala (Twitter link), his playing weight dropped to nearly 220 pounds by season’s end due to Ray’s wrist injury limiting training. He’s back up to 240 now, per Jhabvala.
  • Denver has until May 2 to pick up Ray’s option, which is worth $9.232MM, and the former Missouri pass rusher expects that to happen. “I think that it’s going to get picked up,” Ray said, via Jhabvala (on Twitter). “I think that I’m going to be here, and I’m just looking forward to that opportunity.” Elway said he’s undecided on Ray’s option. He picked up Miller’s in 2014, passed on Sylvester Williams‘ in ’16 and exercised Bradley Roby‘s last year. Even if the Broncos don’t select Chubb, it could come down to a Barrett-or-Ray decision as to whom the team wants to keep alongside Miller long-term.
  • The Raiders and Khalil Mack aren’t particularly close to a deal, despite the parties being on good terms at this point, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Scott Bair notes. Mack is not expected to show for the Raiders’ pre-draft voluntary minicamp, per Bair, who adds no timetable exists at this point for an extension. The Raiders finalized Derek Carr and Gabe Jackson‘s extensions in June of last year, but Mack’s may be more complicated. Aaron Donald and Jadeveon Clowney are the same boat and each could be waiting to see if one of the other 2014 first-rounders sets the market. “We look at Khalil as his own situation,” Reggie McKenzie said, via Bair. “We’re not looking at anybody else. We’re just focusing on our guy.”
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