Khalil Mack & Raiders: Pay Him Or Trade Him?

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Khalil Mack

With the OBJ and Aaron Rodgers deals done, everyone is now looking towards Aaron Donald and Khalil Mack.  While the Aaron Donald deal is reportedly progressing every day, the Khalil Mack extension is firmly entrenched in absolutely nowhere.  

The Oakland Raiders simply do not want to pay a defensive player somewhere in the neighborhood of 22 million with 65 million guaranteed.  There have been several points of discussion as to why the Raiders won’t sign Mack.  One is that they simply don’t have the money.  Another is along the lines of “why would we pay a defensive player the most money of any defensive player in the NFL when our defense is average at best?”  Both are good arguments.  The Raiders don’t have much in cap space due to spending about 20 million on free agents Jordy Nelson, Rashaan Melvin and Tahir Whitehead.  The issue of paying the most money to a defensive player on a below average defense is ludicrous.  It’s been stated that the Raiders have a terrible defense with the 2016 defensive player of the year.  Well, one can argue that the Raiders offense last year was hot warm garbage. I don’t hear any issues with paying Carr 25 million dollars.  

This is why the Raiders are making perhaps the biggest mistake they have ever made if they trade Mack. Yes that includes drafting Jamarcus Russell.  Khalil Mack is a once in a lifetime defensive end.  He is the first player ever to become an All-Pro at two different positions.  The only other DPOY the Raiders have drafted was Lester Hayes in 1977. The only Hall of Famer the Raiders have ever had on defense is Howie Long (Charles Woodson will join Howie Long in 2021). If the Raiders believe that they will draft another Khalil Mack type of player anytime soon they are sadly mistaken.  Khalil Mack has 40.5 sacks his first 4 years in the NFL.  That’s with him being double teamed most of the time.  Name one offensive lineman that can block Khalil Mack one on one…..”crickets”…Anytime someone tries this happens;

Mind you, Khalil Mack did this to #1 overall draft pick Eric Fisher.  In essence, teams have to double team him or he will singlehandedly wreck a game.  There are also items of consideration that won’t show up on the stat sheet.  He’s the captain of the ship and the unquestioned leader in the locker room.  He’s performed on the field and has never had any off the field issues either.  Along with Carr, Mack is the heart and soul of this team.  The message that the Raiders are sending to current players and free agents is mystifying;  You can do everything right, become arguably the best defender in the NFL, be a great teammate with no drama or diva like tendencies and still you won’t get your fair market value with the Raiders.  Mack is at least just as valuable as Von Miller who is earning just over 19 million per season. Adjusted for inflation to 2018, this equates to over 21 million dollars.

Even if the Raiders did trade Mack for two first round draft picks as has been widely rumored, what is that going to do?  First of all, the Raiders don’t have the best recent history with drafting spectacular players.  To their credit they did draft Derek Carr and Khalil Mack in the same 2014 draft class, but over the last ten years or so it’s mostly been swing and a miss.  Jamarcus Russel (1st overall pick 2007), Darrius Heyward-Bey (7th overall pick 2009), Rolando McClain (8th overall pick 2010),DJ Hayden (12th overall pick 2013) and the list goes on and on.  One thing is almost certain – the Raiders won’t draft a player as versatile as the two position All Pro Khalil Mack.  

Khalil Mack has the potential to become a Lawrence Taylor type player.  Why the Raiders are entertaining the possibility of trading Mack is as perplexing as it is annoying for Raiders fans.  Raiders fans have put up with years of terrible draft picks, moving out of Oakland, down to LA, back to Oakland and now to Las Vegas while outside of recent history fielded teams with absolutely no shot at making the playoffs.  They finally have cornerstone defensive and offensive players together at the same time with Cooper, Carr and Mack and it seems as if they are about to let it all slip away – for two first round draft picks, which is no guarantee of any type of future quality.  

This does not bode well for the Raiders.  The Raiders just signed Gruden to a 100 million dollar contract, yet they are broke and won’t take care of the best player they have had in years.  Mark Davis needs to step in and reach into his fanny pack.  If the Raiders don’t take care of Khalil Mack this will be one of the biggest if not thee biggest mistake the Raiders have ever made.   

UPDATE 8/31/18

Per @LeviDamien *** AARON DONALD agreed to terms for 6 years 135 million (87 million guaranteed) at an average annual salary of 22.5 million per year.  How is this a money thing with the Raiders?  The Raiders have 7.1 million in cap space right now.  They are going to release or trade Mario Edwards jr.  and save another 1.3 million, which equals 8.4 million.  Add that to Macks current contract of 13.8 million and taaaa daaaahhh… 22 million and change.  Come on Raiders!!