As the Las Vegas Raiders look to revamp their defense, would it make sense to reunite defensive coordinator Gus Bradley with linebacker K.J. Wright?
While the Raiders defense had a 2020 campaign they’d like to forget, there were some bright spots. In particular, linebackers Nick Kwiatkoski and Nicholas Morrow shined in spite of defensive coordinator Paul Guenther’s horrid coaching. However, Morrow could walk away in the offseason and the team doesn’t know what it has in Cory Littleton. Also, most NFL mocks have the Raiders drafting Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah but signing Wright could prove to be the smarter choice.
The Seattle Seahawks are in a tough spot as they would like to retain one of their defensive leaders but it won’t come cheap. Wright has stated he won’t return on a hometown discount so there’s that. In turn, this could lead to the Raiders picking up one of the most consistently efficient linebackers in the league. He’ll be 32 by the time the 2020 season starts. On the other hand, this defense needs experience and leadership along with talent. With Bradley coaching his first year as Raiders defensive coordinator, all three of those qualities will be paramount.
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Can the Raiders milk whatever Wright has left in the tank?
Wright’s production has been steady since 2011 with a Pro Bowl nod and a Super Bowl ring under his belt. He has 593 solo tackles, 66 tackles for a loss, and 54 passes defensed in his career. Wright’s Pro Football Focus coverage grade for 2020 was 78.7, slightly better than Morrow’s 70.4. The advantage for Wright is that he played his first two seasons under Bradley and possesses a wealth of knowledge pertaining to the coach’s system.
It’s unlikely that the Raiders could retain Morrow and sign Wright given the financial state of the team. This could quickly change though, as Tyrell Williams and Lamarcus Joyner will be off the books and more moves should be coming. In a season where so much is riding on the defense getting fixed, Wright could be a luxury that the Raiders will have to splurge on.
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