Raiders

Khalil Mack trade a shock to Raiders system, changes everything

Khalil Mack trade a shock to Raiders system, changes everything

The Raiders have done it. They have reportedly traded Khalil Mack.

The Chicago Bears now own his rights. The trade was massive, per ESPN. The Raiders receive Chicago's first-round picks in 2019 and 2020, a 2020 third-round pick and a fifth-round pick in 2019. The Raiders gave up Mack, a 2020 second-round pick and a fifth-round pick the same year. 

Expect a long-term deal for the All-Pro edge rusher to break soon, something that wasn’t going to happen here in Oakland after Aaron Donald’s contract reset the market.

The Raiders weren’t going to pay the amount required to keep a generational talent, not after the six-year, $135 million deal changed the price of doing business.

Definitely not with Derek Carr working under a $125 million contract, even with the salary cap increasing every year and that deal looking more affordable with every passing quarterback pact.

The Raiders got compensation and financial flexibility. That last part can’t be ignored.

Head coach Jon Gruden has the ability to add multiple players for the cost of one Khalil Mack. The burning question: Will those players add up to one Hall of Fame talent capable of taking over a game?

Maybe. Maybe not. 

The Raiders weren’t seriously considering trade offers over the last few days, highly placed sources close to deal said then and now. Those same sources said the Donald deal altered thinking. The Raiders were not going to pay the going rate after Donald reset the market. Mack was not going to back down.

Teams had been calling in recent days, and the Raiders started listening and building a competitive market for Mack on Friday. They executed the deal, and now the Raiders will move forward without one of their best.

This deal won’t go over well in the locker room. Edge rusher Bruce Irvin was initially very angry, and expressed that on social media. Quarterback Derek Carr sent out a cleaner version of the same sentiment.

Raiders players will have to adjust to life without Mack, focusing more on a young core of pass rushers featuring Irvin and rookies Arden Key, Maurice Hurst and P.J. Hall.

They’ll also play the season without dividends of the Mack trade. That will come down the road, with future draft picks adding to the roster talent down the road.

Drafting well is required at this point after a legitimately surprising deal that developed over the last day. There’s no telling what will come from that, and it won’t lessen Saturday’s shock.

Khalil Mack is no longer a Raider. There will be a thousand storylines branching off this one, forming a complete picture of the Raiders power structure and prospects moving toward a Las Vegas move without a legitimate superstar.

Doug Martin ready, willing to mentor Raiders first-round pick Josh Jacobs

Doug Martin ready, willing to mentor Raiders first-round pick Josh Jacobs

Doug Martin has spent most of his career as a feature running back, with some standout seasons to show for it. His career entered another phase last season, when he joined the Raiders knowing full well he’d be a backup.

Marshawn Lynch was the primary option when he signed up, and steady carries proved hard to come by as an understudy even with head coach/offensive play caller Jon Gruden’s propensity for using multiple backs. Lynch deserved the workload he got, and Jalen Richard was a change-of-pace back off the bench.

Martin went full-time after Lynch’s season-ending groin injury, and churned out a respectable 4.2 yards per carry. He wasn’t able to find another solid opportunity in free agency, and was unemployed when the Raiders drafted Josh Jacobs and signed Isaiah Crowell.

Crowell’s torn Achilles’ tendon brought Martin back to the Silver and Black, a second time with zero allusions of being the feature back. He came here to counsel Jacobs, and take over in an unexpected pinch.

He was frank about that fact after Tuesday’s OTA session.

“Josh Jacobs, he’s a good kid with good character,” Martin said. “You all heard his story, I read up on it myself. I commend him for being as strong as he is, and that being said I came here to mentor, push him, show him that I’ve been in the league eight years, so I am a vet now. I can’t believe it, but that’s the case and so I’m here to just be that role model for him.

"If he has any questions, I’m here for him to ask them. Like I said, he has good character, but at the same time he looks like he can just run you over, so he’s going to be great for the team.”

Martin definitely wanted a shot at steady carries, especially after leading the team with 723 rushing yards and four touchdowns primarily as a first-and-second-down back.

A Raiders reunion seemed likely at first, though the sides couldn’t agree on terms and Martin remained a free agent deep into the offseason. That was worrisome, but Martin insists it didn’t cause great consternation.

“If something doesn’t go your way, you just have to stay optimistic, and I was being optimistic with the situation,” Martin said. “I knew I was going to be somewhere and do good things, but it’s just crazy how things folded out. I wish happy healing to Isaiah Crowell for his Achilles' (tendon injury), but, when there is chaos you just make a positive out of negative and you just got to stay optimistic about it.”

Martin's back with the Raiders, understanding his role as mentor and backup capable of playing well on early downs.

This mentor/protégé partnership could work, considering how much Jacobs and Martin have in common. Both guys were first-round picks, with the Raiders adding Jacobs at No. 24 this year, and Tampa Bay taking Martin at No. 31 in 2012.

They also have similar builds, with Jacobs standing 5-foot-10, 220 pounds and Martin at 5-9, 223. Both guys can slash through the interior, with enough speed to pop good runs outside.

Martin had nearly 2,000 yards of total offense (on 368 touches!!) as a rookie, a sum the Raiders would gladly take from Jacobs early on.

Nearly a decade separates them and the Raiders are looking to get younger across the board, making this Jacobs’ time to shine.

[RELATED: Jacobs is Raiders rookie in best position to succeed]

This will be the first time Martin has assumed a mentorship role, but he’s ready for it.

“It’s not something I’m used to but it’s something that I want to do,” Martin said. “I’ve been in the league eight years. I’ve been through the whole spectrum of good to bad in this league and, if I can teach somebody, if I can teach Josh on what to do, what not to do, how to stay in on the narrow path and just keep his eye on the goal, then I’m here for that.

"And, yeah, I’m grateful.”

NFL rumors: Raiders-Packers to play Week 3 preseason game in Winnipeg

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USATSI

NFL rumors: Raiders-Packers to play Week 3 preseason game in Winnipeg

Buckle up, Winnipeg, Jon Gruden and the Raiders are coming to town.

It was reported in March that the Raiders were looking to play one of their four preseason games in Canada and now it appears they have found a site for that game.

The Raiders will play the Green Bay Packers in Winnipeg for their third preseason game, Jeff Hamilton of the Winnipeg Free Press reported Friday.

The Raiders have been looking to move one of their preseason games for some time, to mitigate some of the increased rent from their 2019 lease with Oakland Coliseum, and have honed on playing north of the border. The rent amount will decrease with a game off the schedule, a clause that was written into a new lease agreement with a revenue that is expected to host the Raiders one more season before the team is scheduled to relocate to Las Vegas in 2020.

It makes sense to play the Green Bay Packers in Canada, considering their close proximity to the country.

The Raiders originally looked at Regina’s Mosaic Stadium, home of the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders. That deal proved difficult, and the Raiders moved on to other Canadian options. Winnipeg was the best fit, and a formal deal seems to be in the cards.

The Raiders or Packers have not made a formal announcement, despite being less than three months from the game.

Oakland began Phase Three of its offseason program Tuesday when organized team activities began in Alameda.

[RELATED: Undrafted rookie WR drawing rave reviews from Gruden, Carr]

Derek Carr vs. Aaron Rodgers in a "dress rehearsal game" isn't bad NFL treat for the fine folks of Winnipeg. Enjoy.