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.

Tom Brady says he's 'open-minded' about uncertain future with Patriots

Tom Brady says he's 'open-minded' about uncertain future with Patriots

When you think about the New England Patriots, you don't see Steve Grogan, you picture Tom Brady. Aside from six Super Bowl rings for Brady and a trophy case full of accolades and records, there could be one big difference between the two quarterbacks. 

Grogan was a late-round draft pick who spent his entire 16-year career as a Patriots QB. Brady famously was a late-round draft pick who has spent his entire 20-year career as a Pats QB. But that could change. 

With rumors swirling that Brady might move on from New England this offseason, the 42-year-old addressed his future in his weekly interview with Westwood One Sports Radio on Sunday. 

"It's only been a couple weeks and I've had a lot of time with my family the last couple weeks and just been decompressing from the season," Brady said. "I've said earlier I'm open-minded about the process, and at the same time I love playing football and I want to continue to play and do a great job. I'm looking forward to what's ahead.

"Whatever the future may bring, I'll embrace it with open arms."

Brady is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career on March 18. The Athletic's Jay Glazer recently called the Raiders going after Brady with their move to Las Vegas a "no-brainer." And Brady was spotted in Sin City on Saturday night talking to none other than Raiders owner Mark Davis at UFC 246. 

The Las Vegas Review-Journal's Adam Hill spoke with UFC president Dana White -- who's a friend of Brady -- Saturday night after the fights, and White said a Raiders-Brady pairing absolutely "has legs." 

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is set to make $18.9 million next season, but the Raiders would save $16.5 million and take a cap hit of just $5 million if they trade or release Carr prior to June 1. 

[RELATED: Brady offers Jimmy G advice before NFC Championship Game]

Brady wouldn't come cheap, even at his age, though he certainly would create an insane amount of buzz and sell boatloads of tickets in the Silver and Black's first season in Las Vegas. Raider fans might also finally have reason to forget about the Tuck Rule, 18 years after the fact. 

Buckle up, things could get interesting. This is Las Vegas, after all.

Tom Brady to Las Vegas Raiders 'has legs,' UFC's Dana White believes

Tom Brady to Las Vegas Raiders 'has legs,' UFC's Dana White believes

Given the uneven performance Derek Carr had in the Raiders' final season in Oakland, it wouldn't be surprising if the team brought in another quarterback to start for the franchise' in its first season in Las Vegas.

Whether it's veterans like Cam Newton and Marcus Mariota or draft prospects like Tua Tagovaiola and Justin Herbert, there's no shortage of possibilities for Jon Gruden to consider as Carr's replacement and/or backup.

By the looks of the Connor McGregor-Cowboy Cerrone UFC fight Saturday night, it appears there's another name on the list, and it's the biggest one possible.

Yep. That would be Raiders owner Mark Davis in the white, and six-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady in the black leather jacket on the right. If that doesn't get the rumor mill swirling, the following context might do the trick.

According to Adam Hill of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, UFC president Dana White -- who is a friend of Brady's and already is a suiteholder at Allegiant Stadium -- believes a Brady-Raiders pairing isn't all that farfetched. 

Carr is set to make $18.9 million in base salary in 2020, so it's difficult to see a scenario in which he and Brady are on the same team. Brady might be the best QB of all-time, and simply put, he's not taking a major pay cut. However, the Raiders would save $16.5 million and take a cap hit of just $5 million if they trade or release Carr prior to June 1, which would appear to be a precondition for bringing Brady to Sin City.

Of course, if the Raiders did that, it would be under the assumption that Brady could regain some of his three-time MVP form -- which, if you watched him in New England this past season, is nowhere near a certainty. In fact, one could argue that Carr is a superior QB to Brady right now, thus making that hypothetical move both illogical and unnecessary. While throwing for nearly an identical number of passing yards in 2019, Carr posted a far superior completion percentage than Brady (70.4 percent to 60.8 percent) and averaged 1.3 more yards per pass attempt. Of the 30 quarterbacks that qualified for ESPN's Total QBR rating -- which values the quarterback on all play types on a 0-100 scale adjusted for the strength of opposing defenses faced -- Carr was ranked ninth (62.4), while Brady was ranked 17th (53.7)

[RELATED: Mayock gives glowing review of Carr's 2019 with Raiders]

One would imagine that Gruden knows what he has in Carr, and considering his lukewarm-at-best endorsement of the Raiders' incumbent QB at the conclusion of the season, it wouldn't be surprising if the team opted to go in another direction. Brady certainly would provide plenty of excitement -- and would sell plenty of tickets -- but it would also be a big gamble on the Raiders' part.

Given it's Las Vegas, maybe that's the way to go.