What was once unthinkable is reportedly an option now. The Raiders are seriously considering trade offers for Khalil Mack.
Multiple reports on Friday stated there is a competitive market for the All-Pro edge rusher, who is withholding services in search of a long-term, big money contract extension.
With less than 24 hrs to go before the cut-down day deadline, the trade market for #Raiders star pass-rusher Khalil Mack is robust, I’m told. There are enough teams interested where the chances of Mack being traded is very real. Oakland is gauging and listening. Tune in tomorrow.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 1, 2018
And by big money, we mean really, really big money.
Aaron Donald signed a six-year, $135 million contract Friday morning that includes $87 million in guarantees.
That massive contract completely changed the market for defensive players, and set a new bar for doing business with elite talents. Mack is certainly one.
Sources told NBC Sports Bay Area on Wednesday that teams were calling, but the Raiders weren’t considering a Mack trade.
The winds have reportedly shifted in Alameda, and the Raiders are considering a trade they weren’t weighing just days earlier. NFL Network reporter Mike Silver states the Raiders are in active talks to possibly trade Mack.
That said, the Raiders are involved in active trade talks with multiple teams. The asking price is very high. We could see a trade in the next 24 hours, but I’m told that’s far from a certainty.— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) September 1, 2018
Already saddled with a high-priced quarterback in Derek Carr, the Raiders are considering their options to trade Mack instead of pay that kind of money to two players. It’s rare to have a team invest so much in just two players, but the Raiders were in a bind after rookie contracts for Mack and Carr came due.
All of this doesn’t mean they will trade Mack, but they are reportedly exploring the idea. The price, as you’d expect, is sky high.
According to Silver, owner Mark Davis doesn’t like the idea of trading Mack, a Hall-of-Fame talent who was named the 2016 NFL defensive player of the year and is widely considered among best edge rushers.
Gruden, Silver writes, is open to the idea of using money previously earmarked for Mack on multiple players to add depth and talent to the roster.
I’m told Mark Davis is not excited by the idea of trading Mack. Jon Gruden is far more open to it. He believes the type of financial commitment it would take to keep Mack could instead be used on multiple players to shore up a flawed defense...— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) September 1, 2018
Gruden has final say in personnel decisions, and certainly plays a role in the fact the Raiders are entertaining trade offers for someone expected to be a cornerstone of a franchise moving to Las Vegas in 2020.
Mack has remained silent during this entire process, and his agent Joel Segal has not gone on the record about contract talks that haven’t progressed in months. The sides are nowhere close to a deal. The Raiders are clearly hesitant to pay the going rate for elite defensive talent, especially with Carr’s deal, some expensive interior offensive linemen, and a possible extension for Amari Cooper on the horizon. That deal could be expensive if Cooper has a career year working under Gruden.
Again, just because the Raiders are entertaining offers doesn’t mean they’ll trade Mack. He remains under contract under a fifth-year team option worth $13.846 million. The Raiders could use a franchise tag to keep him in silver and black for two more years on expensive one-year contracts. There was hope internally that Mack would report before the regular season opener even without a new contract, though reports say he remains steadfast in his commitment to wait for a new contract.
While little has happened in recent months, the coming days will be important regarding Mack’s affiliation with the Raiders. The pace picked up Friday night.