NFL: New England Patriots at Las Vegas Raiders

It's starting to seem like the other three teams in the AFC West might not ever catch the Chiefs and the latest proof of that came this week when the three teams combined to waste $100 million on players they had invested in during free agency last year. 

During the 2022 offseason, the Broncos, Chargers and Raiders all decided that they needed to make some major upgrades on defense so that they could slow down Patrick Mahomes

The three teams combined to hand out more than $200 million in contracts with that money going to three players: Randy Gregory (Broncos), J.C. Jackson (Chargers) and Chandler Jones (Raiders). Not only did all three of those signings backfire, but in a bizarre twist, all three players got dumped in a four-day span this week (Note: Although the contracts were worth $200 million, that's not how much got paid out. We'll cover that exact number below). 

Here's a look at each situation: 

  • Chandler Jones. The veteran pass rusher signed a three-year, $51 million deal with the Raiders in March 2022. Jones didn't have a huge impact during his first season with the team, but he did win one game for the Raiders when he returned a fumble for a game-winning touchdown against the Patriots, which would prove to be one of his few highlights with the team. Things between Jones and the Raiders turned sour over the past few months with Jones regularly blasting the team on social media. Jones was released on Sept. 30 without playing a single snap for the Raiders this year. According to Spotrac, the Raiders ended up paying Jones nearly $33 million for just 15 games of action. 
  • J.C. Jackson. The former Patriots star left New England in free agency in March 2022 to sign a five-year, $82.5 million deal with the Chargers. For L.A., the signing of Jackson backfired almost from the start. The corner never really fit into Brandon Staley's system and it didn't help that he ended up missing 11 games due to injury in 2022. Jackson started two games for the Chargers this season, but then he got benched in Week 3. Less than two weeks later, Jackson had fallen so far out of favor with the Chargers that the team decided to trade him back to New England on Oct. 4. With the Chargers paying most of his salary this year even while he's with the Patriots, L.A. will have paid him nearly $38.5 million for just seven games, according to Spotrac. 
  • Randy Gregory. The former Cowboys pass rusher left Dallas in March 2022 to sign a five-year, $70 million deal with the Broncos. Gregory's first season with the Broncos was cut short due to injury with the defensive end only playing in six games. Although Gregory played in all four games this year, Sean Payton clearly wasn't impressed with what he saw. Payton said on Wednesday that the team is going to try to trade Gregory this week and if they can't find any takers, then they're going to release him. According to Payton, the move is being made because he wants to get his younger players some more playing time. When all is said and done, the Broncos will have paid Gregory $28 million for 10 games of action, according to Spotrac

If you do the math, that means these three teams ended up paying out $99.5 million to try to stop Mahomes and all of that money has now gone to waste because the Chiefs are still on top of the AFC West and the other three teams have nothing to show for their signings.