Khalil Mack sat out Raiders mandatory minicamp back in June as he pushed for a new contract. With training camp right around the corner, Jon Gruden made it sound like making the defensive end happy is a top priority. The head coach told ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez that the organization is “going to find a way to get Khalil Mack back” (Twitter link).
“That might be the toughest decision I have to figure out right now,” Gruden added. “We’re not the only team that’s faced with that. It’s tough. It’s part of this business and we’ll just keep our fingers crossed.”
The 2014 fifth-overall pick is scheduled to earn $13.846MM next season after having his fifth-year option picked up, but he’s pushing for a long-term deal before he hits free agency next offseason. As our own Zach Links previously pointed out, Aaron Donald and Jadeveon Clowney are in similar situations, and Mack could be waiting to see if one of the other 2014 first-rounders sets the market. Von Miller‘s league-leading average annual salary of $19.1MM seems to be what these defenders are aiming for. For what it’s worth, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie previously said that the organization wouldn’t use other contracts as a basis for Mack’s extension.
With the organization having already signed quarterback Derek Carr and offensive lineman Gabe Jackson to extensions, it would make sense that they’d now shift their focus to their defensive leader. Mack has made a pair of first-team All-Pro teams, and he’s been named to three straight Pro Bowls. He had another productive season in 2017, finishing with 78 tackles and 10.5 sacks.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.