As expected, the Chiefs prioritized Orlando Brown Jr. as their top free agent. Kansas City tagged its left tackle, which will likely lead Tyrann Mathieu to free agency. It is not a lock Mathieu departs Missouri; the Chiefs met with his camp at the Combine. But the All-Pro safety is expected to test the market, Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Mathieu will turn 30 this offseason, but he had a transformative effect on a Chiefs defense that was one of the NFL’s worst before his 2019 signing. The nine-year veteran should do very well for himself on the market. Mathieu’s Chiefs tenure re-established his value, with it coming after the Cardinals cut bait on his extension in 2018. The Honey Badger, who came to Kansas City after playing on a one-year deal in Houston in 2018, made two All-Pro teams on his three-year, $42MM Chiefs contract. Mathieu joins Marcus Williams and Quandre Diggs as the top safeties available. The Bengals tagged Jessie Bates on Monday, keeping him off the market.
Here is the latest from the AFC West:
- Brown will not sign his franchise tender until he decides on representation, and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets the four-year veteran is considering acting as his own agent. This should not be too surprising, given Brown’s quest to move away from right tackle and establish himself as a high-end left tackle. Brown will earn $16.662MM on the tag this season, unless he and the Chiefs agree to an extension by July 15. A Brown re-up would help the Chiefs on the cap front. While moves can be made, including another adjustment to Patrick Mahomes‘ team-friendly contract, the Chiefs are $5MM over the cap after Brown’s tag.
- A Broncos–Aaron Rodgers trade would be quite costly, though Denver’s high volume of post-Peyton Manning quarterbacks does well to convey the team’s desperation here. A Denver deal for Rodgers would cost the team at least two first-round picks and a Pro Bowl-caliber player on a manageable contract, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes, adding that the Broncos should be prepared to give Rodgers a record-breaking extension like the Packers are. The Broncos should also be expected to include a second-round pick, Mike Klis of 9News writes. The Broncos have Jerry Jeudy and Bradley Chubb as potential trade chips in this scenario, while productive wideout Tim Patrick is tethered to a $10MM-per-year extension. Denver holds four Day 2 picks this year (two seconds, two thirds), the extra two coming by way of its Von Miller trade. Miller is on the radar to rejoin the team as a free agent.
- With Justin Herbert tied to his rookie deal through at least 2022, the Chargers have an opportunity this offseason. They are a team to watch for a splashy cornerback addition, with Garafolo tweeting they could be in the mix for J.C. Jackson or Stephon Gilmore. The Patriots may actually be ready to let Jackson hit the market, and Rapoport notes (video link) Gilmore should be expected to test free agency after playing out his Patriots-constructed contract. The Panthers would still like to retain Gilmore, but it will be costly. Gilmore will turn 32 in September.
- Ex-Josh McDaniels Patriots coworker Jerry Schuplinski is now on the Raiders‘ staff as a senior offensive assistant. A Pats staffer from 2013-18, Schuplinski was the Giants’ QBs coach the past two seasons. The Raiders have also hired ex-Jaguars DBs coach Chris Ash to the same position, added ex-Packers special teams coordinator Maurice Drayton as their assistant ST coach and hired Cameron Clemmons as their assistant O-line coach. Additionally, Las Vegas is keeping Jon Gruden‘s son, Deuce, on staff as a strength and conditioning assistant.