How NFL Coaches Are Reacting To Wild Offseason With Loaded AFC

A number of AFC teams have loaded up in free agency

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It’s been quite the start to the NFL offseason after a number of teams around the league adding talent in the opening days of free agency and others landed big fish on the trade market.

Coaches around the AFC, while speaking with reporters at the NFL Annual Meeting in Palm Beach, Fla., spoke about the fireworks.

“Yeah, someone’s used the term ‘arms race,'” Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott told reporters, per Patriots.com’s Erik Scalavino. “Is there an arms race in the AFC? I can’t disagree, I guess, at this point, by the moves that have been made.”

The Bills added pass rusher Von Miller, Buffalo’s biggest free-agent signing.

“You’ve got seven or eight elite quarterbacks now in the AFC,” McDermott added. “Usually you have three or four on one side, two or three in the other (conference). So, it’s like, ‘Hey, what’s the next step? Where’s the next competitive advantage?’ That’s what you’re racking your brain over — Is it personnel, strategic, schematics. That’s the fun part and the challenging part of the chess match.”

One of the biggest trades in the NFL was when the Denver Broncos acquired former Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. Wilson now joins an AFC West that already featured Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes, Los Angeles Chargers’ Justin Herbert and Las Vegas Raiders’ Derek Carr.

But that was just one landscape-altering move in the conference. The Miami Dolphins traded for All-Pro receiver Tyreek Hill while the Raiders gave Carr a formidable target, arguably the best wideout in the game, while trading for ex-Packer Davante Adams. The Chargers added two star defensive players in pass rusher Khalil Mack (trade) and cornerback J.C. Jackson.

“Teams have certainly looked to improve upon themselves,” Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor told reporters, per Scalavino. “… Every week next season, we’re going to have a really competitive game against a tremendous team. We’re excited for these challenges.”

The Bengals did not need help at quarterback (Joe Burrow) or receiver (Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, etc.) so instead shifted their focus to building a strong offensive line. Cincinnati did so with the additions of offensive tackle La’el Collins, Ted Karras and Alex Cappa. Those moves made them among the offseason winners.

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid told reporters: “I like the fact that there’s going to be great competition. I love that. That’s why we’re in this thing. We’ve got all these great players coming in and I can’t wait for these games. They should be really exciting, yeah.”

Oddsmakers released win totals for 31 of the 32 teams in the league, and the wild offseason is depicted in those numbers.

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