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NFL Free Agency: Which Team Will Win the AFC West in 2022?

A flurry of big-name moves has brought even more talent to an already loaded AFC West. How has this week's offseason activity shifted the divisional odds, and which team can provide the most betting value?
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NFL Free Agency: Which Team Will Win the AFC West in 2022?

The new NFL season doesn't officially start until March 16th, but that hasn't stopped teams from diving head-first into the free-agent feeding frenzy and making league-shifting trades. And needless to say, the AFC West has been far from left out. Three of the four teams have been supremely active in improving their roster from the very start.

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Timeline of NFL Free Agency Transactions

March 7:

  • Chiefs place a franchise tag on offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr.

March 8:

  • Chargers re-sign free-agent wide receiver, Mike Williams
  • Broncos acquire quarterback Russell Wilson from Seahawks

March 10:

  • Chargers acquire outside linebacker, Khalil Mack, from Bears

March 14:

  • Chiefs sign free-agent safety Justin Reid
  • Chargers sign free-agent cornerback J.C. Jackson
  • Chargers sign free agent defensive tackle Austin Johnson
  • Broncos sign free agent defensive tackle D.J. Jones

March 15:

  • Broncos sign free agent outside linebacker Randy Gregory

Those are some major names on both sides of the ball, and they're all now set to collide in the same division. What did this all do to move the betting lines as far as which team will take the division crown when all is said and done?

NFL Free Agency Odds Shift

Team OddsMarch 2March 16
Chiefs-140+145
Chargers+375+300
Broncos+400+260
Raiders+800+1100

Now, there's still much more that can transpire over the coming days and weeks leading up to the April 28th draft. Not only do the Chargers, Raiders, and Chiefs all own their first-round selections, but the Chargers and Raiders each boast in excess of $20 million in cap space. The Broncos have shrunk considerably, but they still have room to make a minor move or two. And as for the Raiders, they haven't done much outside of reward Maxx Crosby with a big contract extension and bring in Josh McDaniels to change up the gameplan for Derek Carr and company this season.

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NFL Free Agency Best Value

As for which team now presents the most value, for my money it has to be the Chargers given what they've done via free agency and in their lone trade not to mention their lack of a massive shift as the team pegged with the third-best odds.

Not only did Tom Telesco and the team retain Williams and his big-play ability opposite Justin Herbert, but they have improved the defense by leaps and bounds. On the heels of a 73 PFF player grade and 6 sacks in a down year, Mack is a way to free Joey Bosa from double teams and improve on their middle-of-the-pack sack rate a year ago. That will be trouble, especially with J.C. Jackson -- a 2021 Pro Bowler -- joining an already solid secondary consisting of Asante Samuel Jr., Michael Davis, and Derwin James at safety.

Expect the Chargers to be far from the 26th-ranked defense and at the very least a top-12 -- if not a top-6 or -7 -- defense this coming season. They went 9-8 and narrowly missed the playoffs with a poor-performing defense, so imagine what they can do with an elite one to accompany their top-flight pass-first offense.

The crazy thing is, they might not be done with their impressive offseason. They'll go into draft night with the 17th pick in round one, with which they will likely go with an inside linebacker to help with the run or an offensive lineman to shore up things around Herbert in the pocket. Either way, they make for one tantalizing wager at their current odds to take the West.

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Brett Oswalt has been writing about sports for five years, has covered everything from the NBA to College Football DFS, and previously served as an editor at numberFire. He is a Senior Workforce Planning Analyst at Highmark by day, and an avid sports fan and girl-dad by night. He resides in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife, Marley, daughter, Aria, and goldendoodle, Braun.

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