Edge-rusher Khalil Mack is the superstar the Oakland Raiders hoped he would be when they drafted him at No. 5 overall in 2014. While making a case for being the most dominant defensive player in the NFL, he’s outplayed his rookie contract. So the 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year won’t report to the Raiders until he gets a new deal.
He seems dead set against playing for the $13.8 million 5th-year option the Raiders picked up on his rookie contract. Word on the NFL streets is $22 million a year to eclipse rival edge-rusher Von Miller’s $19 million a year is more like it. He’s obviously hasn’t reported to the Raiders yet so it looks like that’s a little rich for their blood right now. This has caused an impasse the likes of which had Adam Schefter say recently that there’s “no end in sight.”
Former Raiders executive Amy Trask was on CBS Sports’ Time to Schein asking “Did the Raiders not budget for Khalil Mack?” after spending $55 million in free agency. First Things First’s Chris Carter speculated that owner Mark Davis can’t afford to pay him and that Gruden didn’t talk to Mack when he was hired because he knew that. Someone didn’t tell Carter that Gruden did talk to Mack after he was hired.
“I’ve talked to Khalil,” Gruden said on the first day of camp. “Those guys aren’t always 100% accurate, I’ve talked to Khalil, I talked to Mack when I got the job, I just haven’t had a lot of talk with him lately. Not much to talk about right now, sorry.”
Regardless of who talked to whom and when, the fact of the matter is that Mack and the Raiders don’t have an agreement.
His uncertain status yielded more speculation including that of Colin Cowherd of ‘The Herd’ who said the Raiders were open to trading Mack. Vegas oddsmakers even got in on it, making the Green Bay Packers the favorites to have Mack on their team in 2018.
The Raiders would have had to have given Mack permission to seek the trade and contract extension if they wanted to trade him. No team give up much for a player they don’t know they can sign long term and there’s no evidence suggesting the Raiders have done such a thing. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer on his MMQB made a good point when touching on the difficulty of trading Mack.
There’s not much of a chance that another team would give up pick-wise what it would take to get Mack without some sort of assurance that he’d be doing a long-term deal in his new home. And you can raise the fact that the franchise tag would be an option for that team, but that assumes Mack would report to a new home without a new deal, which seems unlikely.
Gruden didn’t sound too interested in trading Mack last week on SiriusXM Radio either.
“Mack’s the best player coming off the edge in football, that’s our opinion. We’re determined to find a way to get him in here and get him a contract and get on with life,” Gruden stated.
“This is a negotiation, Joel Segal’s the agent, they’ve got their plan, Reggie McKenzie and the people that are negotiating the contract on our end have a plan. I’m coaching the team and at this time he’s not here and we’ve got to focus on what we can control and that’s just working.”
It’s tough to hear rumors about Mack getting traded because he’s holding out and can’t agree with the Raiders on a deal. But there are no green arrows in the sky pointing him in the direction of any other NFL team. This situation may take awhile but hang in there because at some point, this thing has to get done.
And for those that believe Gruden is the reason why Mack isn’t signed, do you think he wants to be the reason why the Raiders traded a “walking hall of famer” in his prime?