Paying a coach $100 million when he hasn't coached a playoff game in 16 years doesn't necessarily qualify as smart. But give the Raiders a pass. At least they're moving out of Oakland and committed (their wallet) to excellence.
(Which beats a commitment to excrement, as Gazette colleague Woody Paige once wrote.)
Oakland hiring Jon Gruden for a stack of cash so far has headlined the AFC West's offseason. It also showed Denver's climb is growing steeper by the day.
The Chiefs became a more severe long-term threat Friday when they traded star cornerback Marcus Peters to the Rams. On the surface it looks like a blow to Kansas City: Peters is 25 and shows 21 interceptions in three seasons. The Chiefs will be better off in the long run without Marcus Peters. If Peters is that much of an asset, why did K.C.'s defense rank 30th (out of 32) in DVOA and why would a franchise move on from a 20-something All-Pro at a premium position?
Easy. Peters isn't worth the trouble. As I wrote in August in a column on John Elway and the anthem protests, "it's a business," as players like to say.
When guys hurt the bottom line — and you should've heard some of the fan vitriol aimed at Peters when the Broncos played at Kansas City — teams make a business decision to rid themselves of bad optics, whether you agree with their politics or not. Peters in conservative K.C. was bad for business.
Then there's the Raiders and Chargers, quietly building from sharp decisions in the draft with early round studs Derek Carr, Khalil Mack, Melvin Ingram, Joey Bosa. Yes, it's too early to know about Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City, but it looks like, for now, all three division rivals can say they have a franchise quarterback and nobody will chuckle. The Broncos can't say that.
The AFC West was a bummer in 2017. Thanks to some savvy decision-making from all corners — and K.C. dispatching one — going forward it's no joke.