Khalil Mack Fallout: Suitors, Raiders, Donald

While the Bears won the 11th-hour Khalil Mack sweepstakes, several other teams are now known to have inquired or submitted bids. After reports of interest from the Jets, Browns and 49ers, Albert Breer of adds the Packers and Bills contacted the Raiders about their disgruntled defensive end. However, neither team was close to agreeing to the terms the Bears did. Only the Jets were on the Bears’ level in terms of compensation, Breer notes, and the Jets are not believed to have offered two first-round picks. A team was reported to have offered a first- and third-round pick for Mack; it’s possible that was the Jets. (Although, that report last week may have been about a possible first Bears offer rather than the Jets’.) The Packers hovered as the team Las Vegas pegged as the favorites to land Mack, but they will stick with Clay Matthews and Nick Perry on the edge. Buffalo has Jerry Hughes and Trent Murphy slotted as its starting edge defenders, with trade-block occupant Shaq Lawson positioned as a depth piece.

Here’s more from one of this century’s biggest NFL transactions:

  • The Raiders submitted an offer to Mack’s agent in February, and it was swiftly rejected, Breer notes. Jon Gruden said Sunday the Raiders were not in the Bears’ ballpark on numbers, and Breer adds once the Aaron Donald $22.5MM-per-year deal surfaced, the Raiders knew Mack’s asking price was going to become more reasonable. For weeks, the Raiders gave hard no’s when approached with Mack trade inquiries. However, teams noticed the Raiders’ tone changed regarding Mack late last week, with Breer adding they were much more open to deals. It’s logical to assume the Donald agreement catalyzed this process.
  • Chicago brass monitored the Mack situation all summer, with Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy having long meetings about the prospect of acquiring the 2016 defensive player of the year last week, Breer reports.
  • As for why the Raiders didn’t try to hold their line about Mack playing on his fifth-year option salary? Jon Gruden referenced Kirk Cousins‘ situation with his brother Jay‘s Redskins as part of his reasoning for why he felt Mack had to go. “We have waited. We waited and waited and the (Week 1) Rams game was looming,” Gruden said, via Vic Tafur of The Athletic (subscription required). “Our feeling was that he was not going to report anytime soon. And … I saw the Redskins go through it with Kirk Cousins. … It’s a long process. You can wait it out; you can franchise him; you can force him to play. But we made a decision and we’re going to stand by it.” However, the Cousins situation dragged into the passer’s sixth season. Mack has yet to play his fifth. The Raiders had the franchise tag to use in 2019 and 2020, but it appears Mack’s threat about sitting out games prompted them to take the Bears’ unique offer while it was on the table.
  • Mack’s six-year, $141MM Bears deal will feature $73.3MM coming to the new Bears weapon within the first three years, Breer notes. He’ll make $41MM overall in 2018. Donald’s three-year haul on his six-year, $135MM Rams pact will be $67MM.
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24 comments on “Khalil Mack Fallout: Suitors, Raiders, Donald

  1. JJB0811

    Its the National QB League. For as great as individual talents that Mack and Donald are, their teams really haven’t won that much. Add in the new helmet rule for tackling, D is obviously on a lower tier than the O according to the league. Teams need to spend money and high picks on offense.

    • dugdog83

      Even New England all just won it with defense filled with playmakers

      • Thronson5

        Raiders have no defense. Mack was their only really good defensive player and they wouldn’t win with him. The rams on the other have have a stacked defense so of course a player like Donald only adds to it and they have a good chance of winning.

      • JJB0811

        Ravens haven’t been back to the playoffs since. Mostly due to Flaco not being good and injured.
        Seattle should have won 2.
        Denver hasn’t been back to the playoff since then. NO QB, simple as that.
        Tom posted 505 yards, three TDs, 115.4 rating in the SB. Not too bad, but lost in a shootout.

        • Kenleyfornia74

          Great point. Denver has ingored the huge QB hole and it has cost them the past 2 years. Wasting a great defense.

    • Steven Juris

      The one defensive position that this rule might affect the least is the De/OLB who is a pass rusher. They aren’t going to be tackling player in the open field. They are the best actual weapon to slow down a passing attack. The Raiders problem is that they had nobody else on defense to help Mack. Mack now has help, this is actually the best place for him to land. Pass rushers have always had a high premium in them. Paying DBs big money isn’t wise. Just like it’s not wise to pay big money for RBs or WRs.

    • justinept

      You’re right. QB is the most important position on the field. That’s why we don’t really blink when Derek Carr gets $25 mil per year, but we debate whether Donald and Mack are worth $22 mil per year…

      The thing, though, is that the NFL has shifted since the rookie wage scale was implemented in 2011. Teams with great young QBs on rookie deals have an advantage and are able to allocate their money elsewhere. The Seahawks are the perfect example, fielding a dominant defense while Wilson was on his rookie deal – but sacrificing that defense since Wilson got paid. Their dominance has eroded significantly over that period.

      The Rams are in a similar position with Goff, a QB 3 years from FA who played at an elite level a year ago. That’s what allows them to pay Donald. Time will tell if the Bears are in that position, if Trubisky can play at that elite level, but there’s no question the Bears believe he can.

      I understand that some non-Bears fans don’t believe Trubisky has that potential. They see his garbage numbers from his rookie year and think the Bears won’t be able to put up points with him behind center. Maybe they’re right. I don’t think we know yet. I don’t think we can judge any QB for numbers he put up with Kendall Wright and Josh Bellamy serving as his top two receiving options. I don’t think we can judge any QB when he’s being coached by John Fox, or when the plays are being called by Donell Loggins.

      Personally, I’ll take my chances that the infusion of a new offensive-minded coaching staff along with the additions of Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, and Trey Burton gives Trubisky a good chance of taking a leap similar to what Goff did a year ago.

      If it does, the Bears will make the playoffs this year – and they’ll be trendy SB picks next year. If it doesn’t, if Trubisky doesn’t progress, then the Bears will flounder around .500 throughout Mack’s contract.

      Bottom line is that the Bears entire season – really their next 5 years – is dependent on Trubisky becoming a top-10 QB. If he doesn’t do that, then no amount of cap space, no amount of draft picks, is going to make up for it.

    • 3locos

      I’m sad for you. You comment on Wisconsin sports negativity all the time. Did someone hurt your butt in wisco? You are a sad sad person. Maybe you should get on the bachelor feed. It tends to people like you

  2. siempre44

    Mack is simply overvalued and overhyped. Mack only averages 11 sacks per year. As a linebacker, he is only adequate against the run and is poor in coverage. Mack is a specialist edge rusher and production of 11 sacks is about average and not exceptional for team’s designated edge rusher. Outstanding edge rushers get 20 sac k s per year. So, the Raiders refused to massively overpay for a mostly average player . The Bears will soon find that teams run right at Mack with success and that they could have gotten Mack’s production for 1/5 of what they paid.

    • Rondon

      20 sacks per year? Right. Well, we’ll see if adding him to that top 10 defense doesn’t help them go from good to great. I doubt we’ll be hearing from you much as the season goes along.

    • BAINES03

      “Mack is a specialist edge rusher”

      Yeah, that’s why he was voted all pro at two positions in the same season. The only man ever to do that. The guy is a freak of nature. He takes on a double team almost every single snap. And in nickel and dime packages he slides inside to defensive end. Anyone that can’t acknowledge how great this guy is is simply in denial or doesn’t know football.

    • justinept

      Let’s ignore the 52 other times he forced the QB to throw the ball before he wanted to throw it. Because doing that never leads to anything positive like turnovers …

  3. Clark K

    I would much rather pay Donald/Mack the 135 and 141M over 6 years than what the Packers paid Rodgers for 4 years

  4. fungie22

    That type of money should not be spent on a rusher. Oakland needs to get younger and the picks should help

    • justinept

      I get that you’re coming at this from the Raiders POV, but from the Bears perspective, this was a no brainer.

      Outside having a franchise QB, an elite pass rusher is the one thing every team wishes it had.

      If you have a QB on a rookie deal, and you have a chance to acquire an elite pass rusher, you do it all damn day.

      • Michael Chaney

        This is a great point. In a vacuum, trading 2 firsts and paying $22 million a year for a pass rusher seems absurd, but it makes a lot more sense for some teams than others. Not every team has a potential franchise QB on a rookie deal, so they’re more able to do this than a lot of other teams.

  5. crosseyedlemon

    It’s a bit hard to understand the Raider’s mindset. They got the two first round picks they insisted upon but they can’t use those picks on players that might become great talents since that great talent would allow those players to holdout for more money just as Mack did.

    • leprechaun

      But they gave up there 2nd in 2020 so one pick won’t be much different giving Bears on uptick while Raiders are going down. Won’t be 10-15 player difference in that draft position

      • AngelsintheTroutfield

        Not a football die-hard but how often do mega contracts for DL work out? Last I recall was Suh and in hindsight I don’t think that turned out as hoped.

        • justinept

          Moves don’t exist in a vacuum. The Dolphins were a bottom 10 defense the year prior to signing Suh. The Bears were a top 10 defense a year ago. So there’s an immediate difference in the talent around the two players.

          Additionally – the Peppers signing worked out more than OK for the Bears.

          • AngelsintheTroutfield

            I meant that from the Raiders perspective. Not a great team as is so paying Mack seems like it would have put them in a similar position as Maimi was in. Take the picks and sow the future.

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