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WATFORD, England — Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr gave about as good of a diplomatic answer as possible when asked Wednesday which team won 2018’s blockbuster Khalil Mack trade. 

“I think both teams are winning the trade,” Carr said. “I think if you can get Khalil Mack on your team, you’re winning. If you can get Josh Jacobs on your team, you’re winning. I think that’s the best way to put it.”

The Raiders used the first of the two first-round picks they got in return for Mack on running back Josh Jacobs earlier this year. There’s a fair debate to be had here on the value of taking a running back in the first round of an NFL Draft, but Jacobs ranks in the top 10 among running backs in yards per carry (5.0, 10th) and total yards (307, ninth). 

Still, there isn’t (or shouldn’t be) a team in the NFL that would rather have a good running back — even on a rookie contract — than one of the best two or three edge rushers in the league. What the Raiders do with the second first-round pick they acquired from the Bears next year will be a critical marker in who actually won this trade (also: What the Bears do with the 2020 second-round pick they got back from the Raiders). 

 

Even if, right now, it sure looks like the Bears won it. What doesn’t appear likely is either of the two picks sent by the Bears to Oakland being in the top half of the draft — 2019’s was 24th overall, and despite their uneven start the 3-1 Bears don’t look like a team headed for a below-average season. 

That’ll make it harder for the Raiders to truly win the Mack trade, no matter the diplomatic lines touted by Carr. 

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