Wow. What an absolutely historic week in the NFL. A week filled with a number of moves leading up to week 1, including the trade involving superstar pass rusher Khalil Mack. If you don’t already know, or in other words you have been living under a rock, the Oakland Raiders traded Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears for a number of draft picks, including 2 first rounders. In this article, I will provide you with my take on this whole situation, and will detail exactly what just happened.
How did this even happen?
Clearly, something has to happen for a franchise to trade a Hall of Fame caliber player who is in the center of his prime. So, what was that deciding factor or reason that prompted the Raiders to ship Mack to Chicago? Well, I would say that there are 2 main reasons. The main one being a contract stalemate that resulted in Mack holding out of any offseason program, including Training Camp. Mack was entering his final year on his rookie contract, and it was no secret that he deserved to be paid. However, the Raiders were simply not willing to give Mack his desired contract, and ultimately decided to trade him for a stockpile of draft picks. Now, why weren’t the Raiders willing to give him the lucrative deal that Mack was asking for? Well the answer is simple: the Raiders could not possibly win now while shelling out $23.5M annually to one player. The Raiders not only received a number of draft picks in this trade, they also saved themselves $23.5M annually, and allowed themselves to set up the franchise for success via Free Agency, or the draft. Another reason, which is totally my own speculation, is Mack’s reluctance to play for head coach Jon Gruden. According to multiple reports, Khalil Mack had not even spoken to Jon Gruden since the new Raiders boss was brought in this past January. Why would a franchise player not speak to his new head coach in 8 months? Now that is something to sleep on.
Was this really worth it for the Raiders?
The short answer to this question is yes, however it is not a definite one at that. If you’re a Raiders fan, you are clearly disappointed in this move. I mean your franchise just shipped away a guy who looked like he could potentially be the best player to ever put on a Raiders jersey for draft picks. However, this move sets up your franchise for success long-term, which quite honestly appeared at the route to take at this point in time. In a crowded AFC West division, this Raiders team even with Mack didn’t appear ready to take the next step, and I give credit to head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Reggie McKenzie for realizing that. Now, lets take a look at the official trade that was finalized, and what exactly the Raiders are getting in return for Khalil Mack:
2019 first-round pick (CHI)
2020 first-round Pick (CHI)
2020 fifth-round pick (CHI)
2019 sixth-round pick (CHI)
2020 second-round pick (OAK)
2020 fifth-round pick (OAK)
That is a very hefty package for a single player, arguably the biggest one ever for a defensive player.
Who won the trade?
It is simply too early to tell who won this trade. We literally do not know what exact overall picks the Raiders and Bears are getting, nor do we know who they will even choose and if that player will turn out the way they hope. However, two things are certain: the Chicago Bears got themselves a heck of a player, and the Oakland Raiders set themselves up beautifully in the financial department for years to come, and rid themselves of a disgruntled player.
Props to both teams.