Khalil Mack will be a holdout from Raiders training camp, according to NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Raiders’ DE Khalil Mack will not report to Oakland’s camp when it opens Thursday, per source. It does not appear to be a case of posturing.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 25, 2018
Yes, this isn’t a case of posturing, or of Mack being unhappy with the Raiders in any way. This isn’t personal, it’s just business.
Khalil Mack is one of the two best defenders in the NFL today. The other, Aaron Donald, was drafted just a few picks after Mack, and he is also going to hold out of Rams camp. They are both looking for extensions, and they are looking for them now. And not just any extension- their agents are both looking to make them the highest paid defensive player in the NFL.
It’s hard to argue that they both don’t deserve that classification, as Derek Carr enjoyed being the highest paid player in football for a few weeks before Matthew Stafford got his new contract, and soon Aaron Rodgers will supersede them as well.
But one of these men, Donald or Mack, has to blink first. One of them has to sign that dotted line, and as soon as one does, the other will follow suit with a deal just a little bit bigger. And the two will face off in Week One of the regular season, so we might have a good idea which one was worth the bigger deal at that point. Right now their agents are in a standoff, neither one wanting to do their client a disservice by settling for less money than they could get. That’s good business, but it’s nerve-wracking for fans and coaches.
The only real advantage Donald has over Mack is that Donald has a returning defensive coordinator in Wade Phillips, who is arguably one of the very best DCs of all time, while Mack really needs the camp to get on the same page with new Raiders DC Paul Guenther. Of course, a player as smart and determined as Mack will be able to catch up quickly but football shape is also extremely important, and cannot be simulated. Let’s just hope either Mack or Donald come to terms soon, so we can get on with the season with the last two Defensive Players of the Year in unjform.