Monday marked start of the NFL’s legal-tampering window, which functions essentially as the first day of free agency for players on expiring contracts. The Raiders were noticeably quiet as big contracts started flying around the league at the start of free agency, including several major moves in the AFC West which have continued into Tuesday.
Monday was the first potential glimpse at the team-building philosophy of new Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler and head coach Josh McDaniels. The new regime showed plenty of restraint for one reason or another as teams around the league got aggressive to fill needs, including the Broncos, Chargers, and Chiefs, who have all agreed to terms with high-dollar free agents so far.
Notably, former Raiders WR Zay Jones signed a three-year, $24 million contract with the Jaguars that has a max-value of $30 million. The Raiders entered the 2022 offseason with a need at wide receiver, and losing the services of Jones will make it even more difficult to fill out that position group.
The Raiders did make one move early Tuesday, agreeing to terms with former Bengals CB Darius Phillips to a one-year, $2.25 million contract.
Chargers sign CB J.C. Jackson (five years, $82.5 million)
The Chargers have made to the clear to the league that they are in win-now mode and will be making a strong push for the AFC West title, the Lamar Hunt Trophy, and the Lombardi in 2022.
The Chargers landed the top cornerback on the market, and they add Jackson to a defense that already features DE Joey Bosa, S Derwin James, and former-Raider Khalil Mack. Following the trade of QB Russell Wilson to the Broncos, the Chargers have made a concerted effort to bolster their defense. On paper, they appear capable to handle the offensive firepower of the AFC West.
Chiefs sign S Justin Reid (three years, $31.5 million)
While this deal is smaller compared to that of the Chargers and Jackson, the Chiefs signing Reid does signal the end of an era within the AFC West. With Reid’s arrival in Kansas City, it all but guarantees that S Tyrann Mathieu will be leaving the six-time defending AFC West champions for free agency after three seasons, two AFC championships, and a Super Bowl.
Reid, 25, spent his first four seasons in the league with the Houston Texans after being selected in the third-round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Mathieu remains on the free agent market and will take his Super Bowl pedigree to whichever team acquires his services.
Broncos sign DE Randy Gregory (five years, $70 million)
Veteran DE Randy Gregory is leaving the Cowboys to play in the loaded AFC West after apparently agreeing to terms with Cowboys, only for the deal to fall through and agree to terms with the Broncos.
The Broncos have now filled their pass-rushing vacancy opposite Bradley Chubb. Denver traded team-legend Von Miller to the Rams last season on their way to their Super Bowl victory, and Gregory represents a big change in philosophy for the Broncos as they too are poised to compete in the division and for a Super Bowl with QB Russell Wilson now under center.
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