Khalil Mack

Irvin, Mack given a day off from Raiders practice


Irvin, Mack given a day off from Raiders practice

ALAMEDA – Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin were out at Raiders practice Wednesday for the stretching period. Both edge rushers left one-at-a-time during the individual period, which was open to the press, headed into the main building and did not return.

There was no perceived reaction, certainly no surprise, from the coaching staff or players on the field. Irvin and new defensive coordinator John Pagano were seen joking around on the field before practice began in earnest. 

Both Irvin and Mack were given a practice off. A Raiders official called it a day off/rest-type day that was not injury related. The Silver and Black typically practice in pads or shells on Wednesday, but were in jerseys and sweats in the interest of recovery.

This day off's timing did raise an eyebrow.

Wednesday marked the first practice Irvin has missed since training camp. Mack hasn’t missed one in months.

Mack and Irvin’s downtime also came a day after beloved defensive coordinator Ken Norton’s firing.

Several defensive players were upset about Norton's firing, but Mack and Irvin especially were among those loyal to Norton. Mack and Norton developed a bond after the coach was named defensive coordinator in 2015. Norton and Irvin go way back to their days together in Seattle. Irvin credits Norton for helping him get on the right path and stay there.

Neither player was happy Norton got the axe. Irvin made his displeasure clear, tweeting “BULLS***” shortly after news of Norton’s demise broke. Mack told ESPN “I like to keep my thoughts private.” Defensive stars declined comment Wednesday or didn't appear in the locker room when the media was present. 

It isn’t immediately clear if the non-injury related day off was related to Norton’s dismissal. Head coach Jack Del Rio won’t speak to the media again until Friday. New defensive coordinator John Pagano is scheduled to speak Thursday afternoon.

Del Rio addressed the media before Wednesday’s practice, and was asked how he’ll handle players unhappy with the in-season shake-up.

“I don’t try and 'handle' them,” Del Rio said. “I think the biggest thing is to understand the relationship, respect that, give him a little space and then at the end of the day, we’re going to get on with our work. But, I’m human. It wasn’t easy for me either.”

Khalil Mack wants to be Raider for life: 'That’s a no-brainer for me'


Khalil Mack wants to be Raider for life: 'That’s a no-brainer for me'

The Raiders gave quarterback Derek Carr a massive contract extension last June. Right guard Gabe Jackson got paid later that month.

Khalil Mack’s big deal is coming, likely this offseason. Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie anticipates a deal getting done, and hopes Mack’s agent feels the same way.

Mack’s rep and Raiders contract folks will work out details of a massive contract extension. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year doesn’t have interest in all that. He has one preference above all.

Mack doesn’t want to go anywhere. He wants to stay with the Raiders long term.

“Of course. That’s not even a question,” Mack said in an exclusive interview with NBC Sports Bay Area’s Fallon Smith, which airs in this week's episode of "Raiders Central." “That’s a no-brainer for me, especially when you think about coming into this organization and try to build something special, that’s something you want to be a part of for a lifetime”

Mack has plenty of money, top-5 overall draft picks often do. The No. 5 selection in 2014 considered that first deal life-changing money, enough to help his family.

“That has been a treat for me so far,” Mack said.

He doesn’t daydream about signing a nine-figure contract. He doesn’t long to be the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player (although that might be in the cards, anyway).

“I’m not really even thinking about that,” Mack said. “I’m thinking about the Patriots, that’s just my focus that’s just my mindset – anybody who talked to me about that matter, whether it be my best friend, my mom, my dad, I tell them the same thing. I’m thinking about the Patriots and sacking Tom Brady.”

That, unlike signing a record contract, was a career a goal. Mack said in a post-draft press conference he wanted to sack legends. Peyton Manning and Brady topped the list.

Manning retired before Mack could check his box. Mack will have a second chance at Brady Sunday when the Raiders play New England in Mexico City. He had eight tackles and two quarterback hits against Brady’s Patriots in 2014, but didn’t bring the quarterback down.

Mack considered his third regular season game a welcome-to-the-NFL moment.

The University of Buffalo alum has accomplished a ton since then, with 34.5 sacks and last year’s top defensive honor to his credit. He’ll need a Herculean performance against the Patriots to help the Raiders win a pivotal game. A sack would certainly help, but Mack isn’t calling his shot.

“Yeah, I’m not one to talk,” Mack said. “I’ll express that when I get on the field, but I can’t wait, I can’t wait to play against him.”

McKenzie anticipates Mack extension in offseason: ‘Hopefully his agent feels the same’


McKenzie anticipates Mack extension in offseason: ‘Hopefully his agent feels the same’

ALAMEDA – Raiders edge rusher Khalil Mack will never hit free agency. No way, no how.

The reigning defensive player of the year is a generational talent. You don’t let those guys walk out the front door.

General manager Reggie McKenzie has no intention, and plans to lock Mack up long term well before his contract expires. The Raiders exercised the 2014 first-round pick’s fifth-year team option, putting him in line for a $13.8 million base salary in 2018.

He’s expected to make a lot more than that next season. McKenzie reiterated the Raiders’ plan to negotiate a long-term extension with Mack this offseason.

“I anticipate that. Yes, I do,” McKenzie said. “Hopefully his agent feels the same.”

Mack’s new deal is Phase II of the Raiders long-term extension plan for the 2014 draft class.

They gave second-round quarterback Derek Carr a massive contract in June. Third-round right guard Gabe Jackson got a big deal later that month.

Those deals were more pressing for members of the 2014 draft class entering a contract year. Mack’s fifth-year option, afforded only to first-round picks, gave the Raiders some breathing room.

Mack obviously wanted to get paid earlier. Who wouldn’t? Aaron Donald, another elite first-round defender from the 2014 draft class, held out this summer and reported without a new contract.

There's not much leverage this early in the process. Mack reported on time, as expected.

His patience should be rewarded, because waiting a year should only increase the market.

The Raiders have made it clear to Mack they want an extension way before a deadline, during this next offseason. Mack’s people will certainly demand top dollar, with a realistic shot to set the market for edge rushers and defensive players in general.

The team doesn't want to reach a point where they have to use a franchise tag before the 2019 season. That isn’t expected. As McKenzie said, a deal is anticipated this offseason.

Von Miller and Justin Houston signed nine-figure contract with significant guarantees. Mack has the talent, work ethic and production required to top them both. Time will tell how big a deal Mack will get, but one is coming in time.

The Raiders have worked the salary cap and their cash flow to provide windows to sign important pieces of a young foundation.