There hasn’t been much news on the Khalil Mack contract front lately, but this morning former Raiders executive and Browns general manager Michael Lombardi tweeted out a contract figure that Mack is supposedly aiming for:
With K Mack wanting more than 20 million per year (sources tell me he actually wants 22) a deal with the trading team must happen first--going to be costly on both ends, trade and contract.— Michael Lombardi (@mlombardiNFL) August 10, 2018
Well, that’s a lot of money! Lombardi seems to imply that a trade is a possibility, though it would be tough sledding for any team to get a deal done. Not only would the compensation be incredibly steep to get a player of Mack’s caliber, but the team would also have to come to terms with Mack himself on an extension.
There don’t seem to be any other reports corroborating Lombardi’s story here, although as a former Raider executive it stands to reason that he does have sources in the building. That $22M figure would be three million more than the $19M per year that Von Miller got in his extension a few years ago, and adjusting for cap inflation it would be roughly the same percentage of the cap as Miller takes up on the Broncos.
Vic Tafur of the Athletic, for one, doesn’t buy this at all:
1. Don’t believe what people throw out there. 2. He is better than Miller https://t.co/i5YzUqNXfW— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) August 10, 2018
Whether or not Lombardi is accurate, It’s clear that the Raiders don’t have a problem paying their stars big money, with them just having agreed to a contract with QB Derek Carr worth $25M per season. The Raiders have been making personnel moves and acting with a certain fiscal philosophy in mind for years with this Mack extension on the horizon. If any defensive player is worth $22M, it’s Khalil Mack. And frankly, Aaron Donald is worth that figure as well.
Tafur, for his part, sees guarantees as the real culprit here:
The guaranteed money is definitely the issue. And I don’t think Raiders have opened their books to anybody https://t.co/APRxWoha1o— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) August 10, 2018
Would any team actually be able and willing to trade for Khalil Mack? There have been teams who do crazy things (looking at you, Dallas) so it isn’t out of the realm of possibility, but it’s hard to believe the Raiders would be willing to deal Mack unless he is holding firm on contract demands that the Raiders simply can’t stomach. The Von Miller contract was always going to be the baseline for Mack’s deal, and Vic is right. Mack is better than Von by every quantifiable measure and he deserves more. I can’t imagine the Raiders are going to muck this up over three million dollars per year, when they easily make that much in Khalil Mack jersey sales alone. Those suckers aren’t cheap!
I hold firm to the belief that Mack’s contract and Aaron Donald’s contract is a case of sports agents playing chicken. The Rams and Raiders are playing one another on the first Monday night game of the season, and I believe it’s incredibly likely that Mack and Donald will be playing against each other.