In a stunning move, the Kansas City Chiefs traded away star wide receiver Tyreek Hill. On Wednesday came reports that the Chiefs and Hill couldn’t reach a long-term deal and the franchise allowed him to seek a trade.
Shortly after, Hill got sent to the Miami Dolphins in yet another NFL blockbuster and richly rewarded with a four-year deal worth $120 million. Now, the Chiefs lose one of the best wide receivers in the NFL and one of Patrick Mahomes’ favorite targets.
If the AFC West landscape didn’t change enough before the Hill trade, it just got shaken up again. This is good news for all of the AFC West teams, but Hill’s departure from the division sends the Los Angeles Chargers to the front of the pack and gives them the best chance to dethrone the Chiefs.
The departure of Tyreek Hill shakes up the AFC West in a massive way
The Chiefs stunned everybody by trading away Hill. In haste, they reached an agreement with former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, although nobody can replicate Hill’s level of production on the football field.
Mahomes’ favorite wide receiver plays football in Florida now. On top of that, the Las Vegas Raiders added Davante Adams, the Denver Broncos brought in Randy Gregory and Russell Wilson, and the Chargers signed J.C. Jackson while trading for Khalil Mack.
The Chiefs did sign JuJu Smith-Schuster and safety Justin Reid, but the loss of Hill will be detrimental, as former NFL safety Su’a Cravens posted on Twitter.
For the first time since 2016, Hill will rock a new NFL uniform. Over his career, he has compiled 479 catches for 6,630 yards and 56 touchdowns, and his value to Kansas City is undeniable.
So, the decision by Kansas City to trade away Hill is justified for them, but it sure opens the race for the entire AFC West after the Chiefs have dominated for the past few years.
The Chargers are generating a ton of buzz as the AFC West favorites following the blockbuster deal
Former NFL safety Darius Butler is rolling with the Chargers as the AFC West favorites following the departure of Tyreek Hill. Butler isn’t the only one to side with the Chargers, either.
The Chargers have done everything right this offseason. They re-signed Mike Williams to a three-year deal and traded a pair of draft picks for Khalil Mack to form one of the best pass-rushing duos in the NFL.
Then, the Chargers signed Pro Bowl cornerback J.C. Jackson to a massive contract and followed that up with Sebastian Joseph-Day and Austin Johnson on the defensive line. LA also holds the No. 17 overall pick and brought in tight end Gerald Everett on a team-friendly two-year pact.
On top of all of that, the Chargers still have Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen, Joey Bosa, Derwin James Jr., and this one quarterback named Justin Herbert.
The puzzle pieces are finally aligning around the Chargers organization, and they still have the cap room to make another quality signing or two.
All three of the Raiders, Broncos, and Chargers improved this offseason dramatically while the Chiefs arguably got worse. Tyrann Mathieu also left to free agency and paired with the Hill trade, the Chiefs are due for regression.
The Chargers missed out on the playoffs by the slimmest of margins in 2021. Since then, they have upgraded many positions and are in a perfect situation to run away with the AFC West in 2022.
The Chiefs’ decision to trade away not only impacts them, but it causes a ripple effect throughout the entire division and, in theory, the whole AFC.
The Chiefs have their work cut out for them after getting rid of Hill, while the Chargers can enter the 2022 season as the surefire favorites in the toughest division in the NFL.
Stats Courtesy of Pro Football Reference
RELATED: Tyreek Hill Traded to Miami Dolphins