One of the biggest beneficiaries of Gus Bradley taking over as defensive coordinator for the Las Vegas Raiders has been Johnathan Abram. The former first-round pick was coming off a very bad season in 2020 and was starting to look like a draft bust. However, Bradley took Abram out of coverage and had him playing in the box. While his coverage issues have continued, he’s been a menace in the run game a time.
Unfortunately, Abram’s season will be ending early. He had to leave the Week 15 matchup against the Cleveland Browns early with a shoulder injury. It was later found out that he dislocated his shoulder, which is something he was expected to come back from but doctors aren’t allowing it. Despite wanting to play through the pain, Abram is opting into season-ended shoulder Surgery on the advice of doctors, according to Tom Peliserro of NFL Network.
Abram was having a solid game against the Browns as he blew up several plays. It looked like he was ready to come into his own. He’ll now have to wait until next season to get back on the field. His rookie year was also derailed by a season-ending shoulder injury. He has a reputation for being a hard hitter but those hard hits could be taking a toll on his body.
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Raiders Have Decision Looming on Abram
This is really bad news for Abram as the Raiders have to decide this offseason if they’d like to pick up his fifth-year option. The team likely hasn’t seen enough from him yet to commit to him for a fifth year. His issues in coverage are problematic and he’s not making enough plays in the box to warrant a big payday.
That isn’t to say that he doesn’t have a future in Las Vegas. They love his swagger and passion. He still has the ability to improve in coverage but the Raiders will likely decline his fifth-year option. Bradley has done a good job with the defense but whoever is the next head coach of the team may want to go in a different direction. Whoever is the next defensive coordinator may not have much use for a box safety who can’t cover.
Trayvon Mullen Also Likely Done for Season
This Abram news comes not long after the Raiders revealed that starting cornerback Trayvon Mullen is headed back to the Injured Reserve. He already missed most of the season before returning in Week 14 against the Kansas City Chiefs. He got injured again in that game and his season is likely over.
Mullen will be eligible to return in Week 18 or for a potential playoff run but it’s hard to see that happening considering the previous issues he’s had. The Raiders would love to have him as he’s their second-best cornerback but he may be better off shutting things down and not risking any further injury. He should be an important part of the team’s future on defense.