AFC West: Stephen Neal

Denver signed Miami nickel cornerback Nathan Jones on Friday evening. He has three interceptions in six NFL seasons.

This may be a sign that second-year player Alphonso Smith may not be completley ready to contribute. Smith was replaced by undrafted free agent Tony Carter late last season. Denver gave up its 2010 No. 1 pick (No. 14 overall) to Seattle to draft Smith at No. 37 last year.

  • Kansas City re-signed backup running back Jackie Battle. He played in 17 games the past three seasons for the Chiefs.
  • Here is a chance to keep up with all the free- agency movement on
  • Oakland brought back left tackle Khalif Barnes. He was hurt last year, his first in Oakland. If he stays healthy, he could vie for playing time.
  • Oakland hired Kevin Ross to work with the secondary. He replaces Clancy Pendergast, who quit Oakland two weeks after he took over as the defensive coordinator at Cal.
  • Detroit cut massive defensive tackle Grady Jackson. Jackson, 37, could interest both Oakland and San Diego. He could fit both the 4-3 and 3-4 defenses.
The Kansas City Star and ESPN’s Mel Kiper both wonder if there is any way the Chiefs would reunite new offensive coordinator Charlie Weis with his quarterback at Notre Dame, Jimmy Clausen. The Chiefs have the No. 5 pick and Clausen is expected to be selected high in the draft.

Kiper also wondered if Kansas City would trade Matt Cassel to Denver -- Broncos coach Josh McDaniels loves Cassel.

This scenario is obviously juicy and fun, although also unlikely. But we’ve seen wild scenarios involving quarterbacks in the AFC West before, haven’t we?

• Speaking of wild scenarios, NFC West blogger Mike Sando looks at potential trades in the division. Sando matched two AFC West teams in potential deals. He proposes that Arizona deals receiver Anquan Boldin to Kansas City for linebacker Derrick Johnson and Seattle sends receiver Deion Branch and draft picks to Denver for Brandon Marshall.

I could see plenty of reason why both of these deals would work: Seattle would love to get Marshall and Kansas City coach Todd Haley would probably like to work with Boldin again. Stay tuned.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports Oakland will put the franchise tag on defensive end Richard Seymour if a long-term deal isn’t worked out by Feb. 25. Really, Oakland has no choice. It can’t let Seymour walk after giving up a 2011 first-round pick for him five months ago.

Several current and former Denver players are on the witness list for the Darrent Williams murder trial, which is set to start next week. The cornerback was murdered in downtown Denver on Jan. 1, 2007.

• New England guard Stephen Neal will test the free-agent market. I expect Neal to reunite with either McDaniels in Denver or Scott Pioli in Kansas City.

The Oakland Tribune looks at Oakland’s potential free agents and who should and who shouldn’t be brought back.



Sunday, 1/25