AFC West: Jameel McClain

With Peyton Manning heading to Denver, we got our big score in the AFC West for the free-agency season. Regardless of the Manning addition, it has been a busy week of movements in the division. Let’s look at some of the remaining stories left in the division as free agency slows down:

Tebow’s future: Denver is expected to try to trade Tim Tebow. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen has said he thinks Tebow will be released if he is not traded. I think Denver wants a fast rotation, but there may not necessarily be fast clarity.

Manning’s friends: There have already been reports that Denver could sign former Colts center Jeff Saturday and receiver Brandon Stokley. Tight ends Dallas Clark and/or Jacob Tamme and running back Joseph Addai could also be on the list.

Michael Bush: The Oakland running back has visited Chicago and Cincinnati and is set to go to Seattle. His market has been slow, but circumstances may prevent his return to Oakland.

Chargers backup running back: The Chargers are looking at several players, including Kansas City’s Jackie Battle, as a replacement for key backup Mike Tolbert, who signed with Carolina.

Denver’s defense: Denver still has to improve the defense. It has signed Cleveland safety Mike Adams, but it needs more. Defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley, who has visited New Orleans, remains a priority. Denver has also been linked to Baltimore linebacker Jameel McClain, Tampa Bay linebacker Geno Hayes and Seattle cornerback Marcus Trufant.
Marcus McNeill said he is planning to visit the Kansas City Chiefs. He was cut by the Chargers earlier in the week.

Marcus McNeill
McNeill broke the news on his visit with the Detroit Lions. He is also scheduled to visit the Falcons and he said he won’t sign until he weighs all of his options. The news of the Kansas City visit begs some questions. The Chiefs are visiting with right tackle Eric Winston on Friday.

If Winston signs, the only way McNeill would join the Chiefs is if they want to replace Branden Albert at left tackle. I wouldn’t think they would want to replace Albert right now. If Winston doesn’t sign in Kansas City and McNeill does, McNeill would play left tackle and Albert could slide to right tackle. An Albert move to the right side has been discussed for a few years.

McNeill maintains he is now healthy following last season, which was cut short due to a neck injury last season. The Chargers cut him because he was owed a huge signing bonus. Interestingly, McNeill’s replacement is Jared Gaither, who was cut by the Chiefs during last season.

In other AFC West news:

NFL Network is reporting Oakland receiver Chaz Schilens is close to signing with the Jets. He was once a promising player for Oakland, but injuries derailed his Oakland career. UPDATE: Schilens is officially a Jet. He signed a one-year deal. He reunites with former Oakland position coach Sanjay Lal, who has the same job with the Jets.

ESPN’s Suzy Kolber reports the Cardinals are exercising a huge option for quarterback Kevin Kolb, so the Cardinals are out of the running for Peyton Manning. However, the 49ers have joined the race. For now, it appears the Manning chase is down to Denver, Tennessee and San Francisco.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports pass-rusher John Abraham is staying in Atlanta. Denver had been interested. Denver is also interested in Baltimore linebacker Jameel McClain, Tampa Bay linebacker Geno Hayes and Seattle cornerback Marcus Trufant.
The Denver Broncos are starting to move in free agency as their wait for Peyton Manning extends. NFL Network is reporting that Denver is going to visit with Baltimore linebacker Jameel McClain.

Coming from a 3-4 defense in Baltimore, he would likely play middle linebacker in Denver’s 4-3 set, solidifying the linebacker corps. Denver signed Cleveland safety Mike Adams on Thursday and is reportedly interesting in Atlanta pass-rusher John Abraham. Getting McClain and Abraham would significantly raise the talent level on an improving defense.

In other AFC West news:

San Diego running back Mike Tolbert left his visit with the Chiefs. He is still talking to Kansas City and may take other trips. The Chargers are still interested in re-signing him. The San Diego Union-Tribune is reporting that the Chargers want a fast answer from Tolbert; if not, they could move on to Kansas City running back Jackie Battle. I heard Battle’s name connected to San Diego in the afternoon. Battle is a decent backup; Tolbert is a tremendous backup.

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen is reporting that Peyton Manning’s long-awaited decision is not imminent. So let’s all continue to hurry up and wait.

The Denver Post is reporting that middle linebacker Joe Mays, whom McClain would replace, is visiting the Saints and the Colts. Denver doesn’t have much interest in re-signing Mays.

The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that Houston guard Mike Brisiel will next visit the Redskins if he can’t come to an accord in Oakland. He has ties to the Raiders coaching staff, which will help.

Yes, the Chargers have added receivers Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal this week, but San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers doesn’t want anyone to forget about second-year player Vincent Brown.