NFL Futures: Who Will Replace Jon Gruden as Raiders Head Coach?

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Life comes at you fast. Just ask Jon Gruden. A week ago at this time, Gruden was fresh off of a tough Monday Night Football loss to the Chargers and preparing for the Las Vegas Raiders’ Sunday home game against Chicago. Now, Gruden is unemployed and persona non grata around the NFL.

On Monday, the Raiders officially announced that Gruden resigned as head coach. The decision came shortly after a New York Times report detailed homophobic, racist, and misogynist statements Gruden made in a number of emails sent years prior.

In a statement, Gruden said,

“I have resigned as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction. Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.”

Gruden departed three seasons and five games into a 10-year deal he signed to return as Raiders coach in 2018.

The team subsequently announced that special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia will take over for Gruden on an interim basis. The 61-year-old Bisaccia has bounced around the league as an assistant, but this will be his first head coaching job at any level.

It’s only the sixth week of the season, but it seems likely that Bisaccia will remain in the post until the end of the campaign. The Raiders would be very unlikely to attract any upper echelon candidates in the middle of the season, anyway.

NFL betting sites are taking wagers on who will replace Gruden as the team’s full-time head coach starting next season. Hotshot young coordinators are all the rage these days, which is why it’s no surprise to see names like Kellen Moore, Byron Leftwich, and Joe Brady pop up as potential candidates. The fresh odds for which man will replace Gruden on the Raiders sidelines are listed below:

  • Eric Bieniemy (+600)
  • Brian Daboll (+650)
  • Joe Brady (+750)
  • Kellen Moore (+750)
  • Byron Leftwich (+900)
  • Matt Campbell (+900)
  • Todd Bowles (+900)
  • David Shaw (+1000)
  • Gus Bradley (+1000)
  • Matt Eberflus (+1000)
  • Rich Bisaccia (+1000)

Bieniemy’s Turn?

Eric Bieniemy has been a hot coaching commodity for a few years now. The man credited with being the brains behind the high-flying Kansas City Chiefs offense has interviewed for a few openings in recent years, but hasn’t yet taken a head coaching job. This past offseason alone, Bienemy reportedly interviewed for the coaching vacancies with the Houston Texans, Detroit Lions, Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets, and Los Angeles Chargers.

We don’t know whether Bienemy has turned down any of these jobs or whether he simply wasn’t given any offers. Regardless, the 52-year-old has built quite a resume for himself. He became an offensive coordinator at the NFL level for the first time back in 2018, which just happened to be Patrick Mahomes’ first year as the Chiefs’ full-time starting quarterback.

Bieniemy has undoubtedly benefited from Mahomes’ greatness, but the Chiefs still ranked first in points scored and yards per game in his first year on the job. The Chiefs have advanced as far as the AFC Championship Game in each of Bieniemy’s three seasons on the job, with a Super Bowl title to his name, as well.

If Anyone Can Get the Most Out of the Raiders’ Bevy of Offensive Weapons, It’s Bieniemy

Las Vegas has a good mix of young talent on offense between Darren Waller, Josh Jacobs, Henry Ruggs, and Hunter Renfrow around which to build. Whether Derek Carr is the long-term solution at QB still remains to be seen, but the Raiders would make for a natural fit to give Bieniemy his long-deserved promotion into the head coaching ranks.

The opportunity to steal the offensive mastermind of the Las Vegas Raiders‘ most notorious division rival is something that probably appeals to owner Mark Davis, too.

Other Young Coordinators

  • Brian Daboll (+650)
  • Joe Brady (+750)
  • Kellen Moore (+750)
  • Byron Leftwich (+900)

Offense is king in today’s NFL. Just look at the teams that have been winning Super Bowls lately. The Chiefs have dominated the AFC for the last handful of years, while the Buccaneers just won a Super Bowl with one of the most dynamic offenses in football. Teams like the Bills, Chargers, Rams, and Cowboys are at the forefront of the league’s pass-heavy movement this season.

Over the last few years, we have seen a number of teams go young at the head coaching position. Sean McVay was infamously hired to replace Jeff Fisher in Los Angeles when he was just 30 years old. The Rams quickly improved under McVay’s watch, which led to a few other teams following suit. Young coaches like Matt LaFleur, Zac Taylor, Kliff Kingsbury, and Brian Flores have gotten head coaching jobs at incredibly young ages, which is something that would have been unheard of as recently as a decade ago.

Oddsmakers seem to think the Raiders may look to go in a similar direction. Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll has the second-best odds of any candidate to land the job (+650), while Joe Brady, Byron Leftwich, and Kellen Moore aren’t far behind. Daboll has helped the Bills become one of the most dangerous offenses in football around star QB Josh Allen. Allen has become a legitimate two-way threat in Daboll’s offense, so it would be interesting to see whether the Raiders would be willing to move on from Carr if they were to hire someone with Daboll’s style.

Brady has quickly risen the ranks over the past couple of years. He helped transform Joe Burrow from an also-ran into a Heisman Trophy winner and the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft in less than a year after taking over as LSU’s offensive coordinator under Ed Orgeron. A year later, he jumped ship to take the same job on Matt Rhule’s staff with the Carolina Panthers. Brady is still only 32, and it’s only a matter of time until he gets a head coaching gig of his own.

You Can Make the Same Argument for Both Moore and Leftwich

Moore’s stock has skyrocketed since the beginning of the season thanks to an impressive start for the Cowboys’ offense. Leftwich just won a ring calling plays for Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, and he has drawn rave reviews from Bruce Arians. Arians knows what he’s talking about when it comes to offense.

Any of the four candidates listed above makes sense if the Raiders’ primary goal is to try and compete with the Chiefs and Chargers in the high-flying AFC West. I think Brady (+750) makes for the best combination of value and upside. The 32-year-old would be a flashy hire, which would make him a logical fit for a team that used to be run by Al Davis.

Defense-First Approach?

  • Todd Bowles (+900)
  • Matt Eberflus (+1000)
  • Gus Bradley (+1000)

Perhaps the best way to combat teams like Kansas City and Los Angeles is to build a team with a defensive mindset. Unfortunately, Las Vegas has a long way to go if they want to get to that level. That said, perhaps a shift in coaching philosophy could help them get going in the right direction.

Former Jets head coach Todd Bowles, who is currently running Tampa Bay’s vaunted defense, has seen his stock rise. Bowles’ four-year stint on the sidelines for the Jets didn’t go well at all, but it’s hard to blame coaches too much for everything that has gone wrong with that franchise. Bowles has restored some of his reputation by helping to lead a Bucs defense that just dominated Mahomes and the Chiefs in last year’s Super Bowl.

Gus Bradley, who is in his first year as the Raiders’ defensive coordinator, would make for a natural candidate. Bradley has been known as one of the better defensive coordinators in football for the last decade, but his own head coaching tenure didn’t go so well, either. Bradley was fired after leading the Jaguars for four aimless seasons back in 2016.

Matt Eberflus might be the best candidate of them all if the Raiders opt to go defense-first. The 51-year-old has quickly helped the Colts build a defense that has ranked among the stingiest in football since he came aboard in 2018.

What’s the Best Bet?

Given how the league is trending, it’s going to be hard for the Raiders to resist the idea of giving yet another young coordinator a head coaching gig. Bieniemy is the name that comes up first whenever any team suddenly has an opening, but there must be a reason he hasn’t gotten any other job to this point.

Does he come off poorly in interviews? Do teams think Mahomes is the only reason the Chiefs’ offense has been so consistently dominant?

Whatever it is, it’s tough to love Bieniemy to get this job considering he’s the early betting favorite.

I’d rather take the extra upside that comes with betting on one of the other offensive coordinators that will presumably receive consideration. Brady and Moore at +750 both look appealing, while Leftwich at +900 brings even more value to the table. If I had to pick one, I’d say Brady will be the man that will ultimately get the gig. Don’t put it past the team from Las Vegas to try and make as many headlines as possible with this hire. Brady is the man for the job.

Who Will Replace Gruden? –Joe Brady (+750)
Taylor Smith

Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...

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