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Raiders free agency preview: Will former coaches poach from roster?

Las Vegas’ free agents have familiarity around league

AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Las Vegas Raiders v Cincinnati Bengals
Rich Bisaccia
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

With NFL teams able to talk to free agents looming in five days, the Las Vegas Raiders may soon see some of their key 2021 players leave through free agency.

A wrinkle this offseason, is that the Raiders’ current class of free agents are coming off a season of being coached by a staff that is dispersed around the NFL after the recent coaching change. So, just like new Raiders coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler will likely be interested in players from the New England Patriots, where they were last at, former Las Vegas coaches may try to coax Raiders free agents there way, starting next week.

The first place we may have to look at potential 2021 Raiders player-coach reunions is the Indianapolis Colts and former Raiders’ defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. Bradley was instrumental in bringing several defenders to Las Vegas last year and most of them are free again. Free agents such as cornerbacks Casey Hayward and Brandon Facyson, defensive tackle Darius Philon and linebacker K.J. Wright. I could see Bradley talking to the Colts brass about Raiders’ free-agent defensive tackles Solomon Thomas and Quinton Jefferson, who also signed with Las Vegas in 2021 on one-year deals. Fellow defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins could interest Bradley as well. Former Raiders’ defensive backs coach Ron Milus and linebackers coach Richard Smith are in Indianapolis with Bradley as well.

Former Raiders’ interim head coach Rich Bisaccia is now the special teams coach in Green Bay. He could try to influence the Packers’ management in any one of the Raiders’ free agents, including backup quarterback Marcus Mariota (if Green Bay trades current backup Jordan Love), reserve running back Jalen Richard, receiver Zay Jones and tight end Derek Carrier.

Baltimore Ravens v Las Vegas Raiders
Derek Carrier
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Carrier, Richard and running back Peyton Barber could interest the Houston Texans. Former Raiders’ running backs coach Tim Berbenich is now the tight ends coach there.

Former Raiders’ offensive coordinator Greg Olson is an offensive assistant with the Super Bowl champion, Los Angeles Rams. So, players like Richard, Barber, Carrier, Jones and even Mariota could attract interest there.

Whatever happens, expect a lot of movement from the 2022 Las Vegas free agent class next week.