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Raiders hope to have Mack back soon, but minicamp continues without him

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NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Oakland Raiders Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Day two of mandatory minicamps happen today. Khalil Mack’s status officially reached holdout with him missing the first practice yesterday. It tends to get noticed when the team’s best player doesn’t show up to a mandatory team practice. The question now is whether how long this holdout will last.

“I don’t know; I just hope so,” Head Coach Jon Gruden said after Tuesday’s minicamp practice. “One of the big reasons I came here was to coach that man, but I don’t want to speculate. There’s a lot of guys in the league, several players that are in a similar situation, and we’re just trying to resolve it as soon as possible. In the meantime, we’ll coach the players that are here.”

One of the other players that Gruden is referring to is Aaron Donald of the L.A. Rams who is also in a similar contract situation. Both players are on their 5th-year team option of their rookie contracts. With them basically being 1A and 1B as far as defensive players in the 2014 draft it’s no surprise they both are looking for better financial commitments from their teams.

They are two of the best defensive players in the NFL but are being underpaid thanks to the collective bargaining agreement’s rookie pay scale. Khalil Mack is scheduled to make $13.8M and Aaron Donald is scheduled to make $6.9M, the difference being from Mack being picked 4th overall and Donald being picked 13th.

Though the $13.8M isn’t exactly chump change, Mack deserves to make much more than that as a special, elite talent. The bench mark right now for Mack’s deal is Von Miller’s deal in Denver where he signed a 6-year, $114M deal with $70M guaranteed. Mack’s next deal should top those numbers.

Now that Mack has missed a mandatory minicamp day it will be up to the Raiders to decide whether they want to fine him for his absence. If he misses all three days he could be fined up to $84,435 by the team.

In the meantime, life still goes on without Mack at the facilities. His teammates would like to have him at practice but understand the business side of things.

“You can’t replace Khalil.” Karl Joseph said when asked about Mack’s absence from minicamp. “We know what he’s doing and we respect it but I think the other guys have done a good job stepping up and learning the system, like everyone else has been. When he’s ready to come back, we’ll be ready for him. You can’t replace a guy like that.”

“I honestly haven’t been thinking about that at all.” Offensive guard Kelechi Osemele added. “We have so much going on right now. It’s a new system. We’re worried about our development right now. I’m sure he’s doing whatever he needs to do to be ready when he comes back. Right now it’s just kind of one of those things where it’s next man up at this point until he gets back. He’s a great player. My opinion, yes of course, I think we need to do whatever we can to get him back. He’s just a phenomenal guy. You don’t come across talent like that, but we haven’t really even been letting that affect our preparation day in and day out.”

It is unlikely that Mack and the team will get a deal done in time for him to make it to the final two days of the minicamp so the hope is to get him back in gear by training camp. When talking about signing one of the highest paid players in the league the deal takes a fair amount of time though. For example, last year Derek Carr wasn’t signed until June 22nd.

It won’t get scary for the Raiders until after it starts to get closer to training camp, but it’s definitely time for GM Reggie McKenzie to get a deal done as soon as possible for everyone’s best interest.