Early Saturday morning one of the biggest NFL trades in quite some time took place. During the whole offseason the Raiders all-pro and 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Khalil Mack, had been holding out from the team in hopes of receiving a max contract.
Mack has undoubtedly not only been one of the best pass rushers in the league but also one of the best defensive players for the past few years. He was heading into his final year of his contract with Oakland, and they knew that he was going to need a lot of money. With the resume Khalil Mack has he has the right to want to get a big contract.
Things took a big turn in his holdout situation on Aug. 31 when the Rams gave star defensive tackle Aaron Donald a huge deal. Donald’s contract was worth up to $135 million for 6 years. This definitely gave the Raiders an understanding of how much Mack was going to want. Khalil Mack believes himself to be the top defensive player in the league, and so he wanted at least as much if not more than Aaron Donald.
New Raiders head coach Jon Gruden and the Raiders organization believed that they couldn’t afford to pay Mack that much money, especially with quarterback Derek Carr already signed to a long-term deal. Teams all around the league soon realized a deal wasn’t going get done between Mack and the Raiders. The Jets, 49ers, and Packers were all trying to land Mack. Ultimately, the Bears were willing to give up the most for him, which meant sending their next two 1st round picks, a 3rd round 2020 pick, and a 6th round 2019 pick. Oakland also gave the Bears their 2020 2nd round pick in the deal.
Shortly after the trade went through the Bears gave Mack exactly what he wanted. The Chicago Bears and Khalil Mack agreed to a contract making him the highest paid defensive player of all time. His new deal was for 6 years and $141 million. The whole Chicago Bears coaching staff agreed that the addition of Mack is exactly what they needed to make them a contender again. Chicago already had a top-10 defense last year, and with the additions of Roquan Smith and Khalil Mack they have a lot of potential. The Raiders are hoping to turn those two first round picks into two good young players.
Some local Raiders fans are not very happy about the team trading away their best player. Prep senior Isaiah Zbach said, “The trade didn’t make any sense, and it was the worst idea they’ve ever had.”
Cathedral Prep English/journalism teacher Mr. Hubert is also a longtime Raiders fan. “I was very disappointed to see the Raiders trade away the best player they’ve had this century. The chances of finding a replacement for Mack with either of those first rounders is highly unlikely,” he said. “I understand it was a financial move, but I would rather pay $100 million for a player than a coach.”
Although no one really knows at the moment who really won the trade because it will depend on the future production of Mack and the players drafted with the exchanged picks, it seems as if both teams got what they wanted in the trade. The Bears got one of the best defensive players in the game, and the Raiders got salary cap flexibility and future picks. Trades of this caliber don’t happen very often, especially in the NFL. Khalil Mack’s first game with Bears, which is Sunday night on NBC at Lambeau Field against Aaron Rodgers and the rival Green Bay Packers, will definitely be a must watch for Bears fans and NFL fans alike.