Let’s face it, Gus Bradley was collateral damage in Las Vegas.
He did a good job in his one season as the defensive coordinator of the Las Vegas Raiders. He did nothing to deserve being one-and-done with the team.
Had the Jon Gruden saga never happen, Bradley would be preparing for his second season in the desert. However, with Josh McDaniels taking over as head coach, it was clear that many coaches would not return and Bradley got caught in the middle of that unfortunate reality and now he’s the defensive coordinator of AFC-playoff competition, the Indianapolis Colts.
The defense improved under Bradley and players responded to him. Yet, one of his most underrated aspects of success in Las Vegas was his ability to recruit.
The Raiders had a better year in the bargain free-agent market than in previous years under Gruden and former general manager Mike Mayock. In my opinion, Bradley deserved much of that credit.
The Raiders added seven defensive players who worked under Bradley in either Seattle, Jacksonville or with the Chargers. They were defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, linebackers Denzel Perryman and K.J. Wright, cornerbacks Casey Hayward and Brandon Facyson, defensive tackle Darius Philon and safety Roderic Teamer. Bradley was the direct reason why most of those players came to Las Vegas.
Ngakoue, Perryman and teamer are under contract for 2022, while Hayward, Facyson, Wright and Philon (who suffered a major knee injury in Week 18) are all free agents.
It will be interesting to see if the Raiders will want the pending free agents or if they will want to return without Bradley. I could see Hayward being a target of the new regime or sure and perhaps Facyson. Interest in Philon may depend on health.
Either way, Bradley’s impact in Las Vegas was brief, but strong.