SATURDAY 8:35am: Bradley spoke to the media last night, and the head coach gave his take on the extension.
“Believe me, I appreciate it,” he said (via Ryan O’Halloran of Jacksonville.com). “I think it’s awesome. It’s pretty strong.”
Bradley was also thrilled that his entire coaching staff got an extra year, stating that it’s an indication that the master plan is starting to come together.
“This was [Khan and Caldwell] saying, ‘We believe it’s coming together and we believe in this staff,’ ” Bradley said.
FRIDAY, 8:01am: Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley won’t enter the 2016 season as a lame duck. As first reported by Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville has extended Bradley’s contract by a year, locking him up through the 2017 season. The team has confirmed the move in a press release.
“For an organization that we believe is ready to make its move, extending Gus through the 2017 season provides our club with much-needed stability in every respect,” General manager Dave Caldwell said in a statement. “It solidifies Gus’ good standing with our current players, provides certainty for free agents who may be considering the Jaguars and helps to deliver the continuity throughout our coaching staff that we think is critical for us to turn the corner.”
Jaguars owner Shad Khan said before the team’s final game of the regular season that Bradley would return for the 2016 season, and NFL clubs typically don’t like having coaches on expiring contracts, so the new deal doesn’t come as a real surprise.
Khan’s statement in December suggested that he expects the team to take a step forward next season, and at the time it sounded as if Bradley would be on the hot seat if the Jags went through another losing season (the team is just 12-36 during his tenure). I don’t expect today’s move changes that — Khan would simply have to eat an extra year of salary now if he decides to make a change next year.
Still, with Blake Bortles and Allen Robinson helping to turn the Jaguars’ offense into a dangerous unit, Dante Fowler set to return in 2016, and the Jags set to add another top-five pick to the mix in the spring, there are signs that the franchise is headed in the right direction. By retaining Bradley and promoting an in-house assistant, Todd Wash, to the open defensive coordinator position – a move the club confirmed today – Khan and the Jaguars are betting on continuity heading into ’16.
In addition to announcing the one-year extension for Bradley, the Jaguars confirmed today that they’ve promoted Mark Ellenz to director of college scouting to replace Kyle O’Brien, who joined the Lions earlier this month, tweets John Oehser of Jaguars.com. O’Halloran adds (via Twitter) that the club also announced Daniel Bullocks is the new assistant defensive backs coach.
Wash will call defensive plays for the Jaguars in 2016, tweets O’Halloran. The Times-Union scribe adds that, like Bradley, the team’s assistant coaches all have contracts that run through 2017 now as well (Twitter link).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.