When Bears general manager Ryan Pace traded two first-round picks for Raiders edge rusher Khalil Mack at the start of the 2018 season, the overall consensus was that the Bears got the better end of the deal. In fact, most in football media questioned how Jon Gruden could allow a generational talent like Mack leave Oakland.
But here we are, entering the final six games of the second season removed from the trade, and the Raiders are riding the legs of rookie running back Josh Jacobs to the tune of a 6-4 record and a legitimate shot for a playoff berth. The Bears, meanwhile, are 4-6 and have just a 1% chance at qualifying for the postseason.
To make matters worse, Mack is in the midst of his worst season (statistically) in the last four years while Jacobs, who the Raiders selected with the Bears' first-round pick last April, could end up finishing his first season as the NFL's leading rusher.
Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock, who wasn't in Oakland a the time the trade was made, are loosening their hamstrings for what may be a victory lap of sorts when it comes to the Mack deal. Mayock has been basking in the afterglow of the Jacobs pick, but Gruden made sure one thing was very clear this week.
"(Mayock's) doing all the interviews, taking all the credit for Jacobs," Gruden said tongue-in-cheek, "but Jacobs wouldn't be here if we didn't have all the picks."
All. The. Picks.
The picks they flipped Mack for. The picks the Bears sent them. The trade Gruden clearly thinks he won.
Gruden's earned the right to throw some jabs in 2019. He's been one of the NFL's best coaches and if the Raiders make a deep playoff run, he could end up winning this season's Coach of the Year Award.
The Bears know a little something about that award, actually. It's the same one Matt Nagy took home after year one of the Mack trade.