- Mike DiRocco, ESPN Staff Writer
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jaguars coach Gus Bradley knows that people automatically assume he's going to want to sign any Seattle Seahawks player that becomes a free agent or is released.
Especially if they're defensive players. He spent three seasons as the Seahawks' defensive coordinator (2009-12) and helped construct the defense that stymied Peyton Manning's high-scoring offense to win the Super Bowl.
But he's not going to stop looking at those players, especially if he thinks they can help during the franchise rebuild.
"I think that could be a perception of it and I want to be careful of that," Bradley said. "But if they're good players ... If there's an opportunity for someone that if I have coached, or been a part of coaching, and they've given so much to me and helped our staff as a coaching staff, that in turn if I can have the opportunity to help them, I'm going to look into it. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing, that's just how I am."
Bryant and Clemons certainly can help the Jaguars. Bryant, who signed a four-year deal worth $19.5 million, is an upgrade over Tyson Alualu at the run-stuffing defensive end spot. Clemons, who signed a four-year, $17.5 million deal, instantly improves a pass rush that finished last in the NFL in each of the last two seasons.
"I think that sometimes as coaches, especially with guys that you brought up, sometimes you can get emotionally involved with guys that you have as coaches but that's not necessarily the best fit for your team," Bradley. "And I think that's where [general manager] Dave [Caldwell] and my conversation has gone and with the other coaches, and so we stay true and we say, ‘Alright, like a Red Bryant. Do you want Red Bryant because it's emotional? You know what you're getting and you like it. Or on tape does he warrant it?"
There's no doubting the signing of Clemons and Bryant was warranted. Thurmond would have been, too, and that's more important.
"I could see that perception [that the Jaguars are signing too many Seattle players]," Bradley said. "But we're looking for all good players and they fit that category."
24mEric D. Williams