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.