By TPR Staff

Denver Broncos

By now we all realize that a lot of the credit that Broncos starting quarterback Tim Tebow got for the success of 2011, he wouldn’t have gotten those headlines without the let of kicker Matt Prater. He kicked the game-winning field goal on the last play of regulation or in overtime four times last season and Denver has rewarded him by applying the franchise tag to him yesterday. With an offense as inept as Denver’s was last season, this was a must keep player. No word yet if the sides are far apart on a long-term deal.

Add running back Willis McGahee to the long list of NFL players who have fired agent Drew Rosenhaus. Unhappy with his current contract in Denver, McGahee did the deed after the Broncos recently informed the agent they would not renegotiate his contract just one season into his four-year, $9.5 million contract. McGahee is scheduled to draw a $2 million salary with no bonus in 2012.

Kansas City Chiefs

One of the worst kept secrets in the league was confirmed yesterday when the team hit wide receiver Dwayne Bowe with the franchise tag for the 2012 season. Bowe was a bright spot in an abhorrent passing game in Kansas City last season, catching 81 passes for 1,159 yards and five touchdowns. It was his third 1,000-yard season, and he has caught at least 70 passes in four of his five NFL seasons.

You can add the Chiefs to the ever growing list of teams interested in trading with St. Louis in the upcoming NFL Draft to gain the right to draft quarterback Robert Griffin III. Current quarterback Matt Cassel has gone 18-21 the past three years as a starter in Kansas City and he has failed to complete 60 percent of his passes in any season as a Chiefs starter. Picking 11th, it could be quite a feat, but new head coach Romeo Crennel was quoted as to saying of Griffin that he is the type of “person that you go get.”

Oakland Raiders

In an offseason that has seen the Raiders shedding more of their roster than retaining, the team announced its plan to apply the franchise tag to free agent safety Tyvon Branch yesterday. A good move as in three years as a starter, Branch has averaged 112.3 tackles and has three career interceptions. The franchise tag will cost the Raiders $6.2 million, down nearly 30 percent from a year ago, but they already are at working on the potential long-term deal for Branch.

Still no official word on Oakland linebacker Kamerion Wimbley and his possible contract restructure. If the sides cannot agree on a new deal, the team has been rumored to release the pass rusher despite owing him $6.5 million in guaranteed money for 2012. Wimbley had seven sacks for the Raiders last season after posting nine in 2010.

San Diego Chargers

Here is one that actually doesn’t include a franchise tag story. Free agent wide receiver Vincent Jackson will indeed hit the market when it opens next week as the Chargers let the tag deadline pass yesterday. The star wide out has 201 receptions for 3,619 yards over the past four seasons and is expected to fetch around $10-$12 million per on a multi-year deal. It’s risky, but as opposed to the $13.7 million salary cap hit the Chargers would have taken to keep Jackson for one more season, they could sign him to a long-term deal with a big signing bonus that would be prorated against the cap.

In a cap move, San Diego released veteran defensive lineman Luis Castillo yesterday. He has spent his entire career with the Chargers and was set to make a base salary of $3.9 million and a roster bonus of $1 million before he was released. Neither side has ruled out a return at a reduced salary in 2012. He appeared in just one game in 2011 before breaking his left leg in the season opener.

Keep an eye out for AFC West division roundups every Tuesday on The Pigskin Report

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