AFC West: Mike Sims-Walker

AFC West mailbag

March, 16, 2011
Midweek mail call:

John Fanghella from Houston wants to know if I think the Chargers could draft Oregon linebacker Casey Matthews.

Bill Williamson: I think he is a player the Chargers will look at. San Diego has two second-round picks and I think Matthews will be considered in that range. The Chargers will likely pick up two inside linebackers this offseason and could draft one early. Inside linebackers Stephen Cooper, Kevin Burnett and Brandon Siler are free agents. I could see two of them leaving. Matthews is a type of guy who looks like he could be a fit in San Diego and who would interest Chargers’ general manager A.J. Smith.

Ian John from Pueblo, Colo., wants to know if Denver would have too many pass-rushers if it ended up with Da’Quan Bowers, Elvis Dumervil and Robert Ayers.

BW: Hi, Ian. You can never have enough pass-rushers. They are at a premium. You truly can’t have enough. A strong pass-rushing defense is a good defense. Also, there are questions in Denver. Will Dumervil regain his same pass-rushing groove after missing last season with a pectoral tear and moving to a 4-3 defense? Will Ayers ever reach his potential? I think Denver is considering Bowers because it feels like it is not settled at the position.

Brandon from Kansas wants to know I think the Chiefs could make a play for Mike Sims-Walker in free agency.

BW: I think the Chiefs have to be put on the list of the teams that would look at the Jacksonville free agent. I could see Oakland and San Diego on that list as well. As far as Kansas City goes, I think he’d be a nice complement to No. 1 receiver Dwayne Bowe. He’d stretch the field and be a nice No. 2 option to Matt Cassel. This should be a strong receiver free-agent class and Sims-Walker could be relatively reasonably priced and attractive to Kansas City.
Hours after cutting defensive linemen Jamal Williams and Justin Bannan, Denver agreed to terms with defensive lineman Kevin Vickerson on a multi-year deal, the team announced. Vickerson will likely play defensive tackle in Denver’s 4-3 defense and be a rotational player. He was going to be a free agent.
  • San Diego receiver Vincent Jackson and Kansas City linebacker Mike Vrabel are among the players who have agreed to be Name Plaintiffs in pending antitrust action if the NFLPA union decertifies, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported. Jackson held out for several months last year and the Chargers have given him the franchise tag this year. Jackson is expected to honor the tag.
  • Jacksonville is parting ways with receiver Mike Sims-Walker. I could see a potential fit in Kansas City and Oakland once free agency starts. He is a good deep threat.
The Minnesota Vikings' decision to place the franchise tag on linebacker Chad Greenway could have an effect on the AFC West.

The Vikings’ decision to tag Greenway and not receiver Sidney Rice means the receiver position has gotten even more loaded in free agency. Rice joins strong free-agent receiver class that includes the likes of Braylon Edwards, Malcom Floyd, Santonio Holmes, Steve Breaston, Randy Moss, Santana Moss, Steve Smith (Giants, not Panthers) Terrell Owens and Mike Sims-Walker.

Rice is now at the top of the loaded class.

That should interest Kansas City and Oakland. I could see both teams adding a receiver in free agency. The Chiefs may be more aggressive. They need a No. 2 starter to pair with Dwayne Bowe. I could see Kansas City either spending a lot on a receiver or considering using the No. 21 pick on a receiver.

Oakland will likely look for an older receiver to complement its talented, but raw group of receivers that includes Jacoby Ford, Chaz Schilens, Louis Murphy and Darrius Heyward-Bey. Because Oakland likes its young receivers, I’m not sure it would spend big on a receiver but this class is now deeper and Oakland could get a veteran receiver at a better price.

San Diego has to be closely watching the receiver class as well. If Floyd leaves, the Chargers will need a receiver. Rice could be a very interesting fit if the Chargers (who recently put the franchise tag on Vincent Jackson) if they want to spend big money. I can see the Chargers adding at the position (perhaps early in the draft) even if Floyd is re-signed. Keeping Floyd may have gotten easier now that Rice has joined the free-agent class. Rice will likely be more sought after than Floyd, so it the Chargers may have an easier time keeping him if they don’t decide to make a push for Rice.

I don’t see Denver being major factors at the receiver position right now even though young receivers Eddie Royal (hip) and Demaryius Thomas (Achilles) are currently hurt. I think Denver will concentrate on fixing the NFL's worst defense.