Chargers’ Khalil Mack Contemplated Retirement After 2022 Season

Khalil Mack has been a bright spot for the Chargers this season, providing a signficant pass rush presence in a season where the team’s defense has put up underwhelming numbers in several categories. The three-time All-Pro nearly elected to hang up his cleats before the 2023 campaign, however.

Mack contemplated retirement after the 2022 season came to an end, as detailed by Daniel Popper of The Athletic (subscription required). Los Angeles surrendered a 27-point lead in a wild-card loss to Jacksonville, ending the team’s season in unexpected fashion. Mack posted eight sacks in his debut Chargers campaign, earning him Pro Bowl honors for the seventh time in his career.

The 32-year-old has taken a dramatic step forward in production this season, however. Mack leads the NFL in both sacks (15) and forced fumbles (five), having posted multiple sacks in five games this year. Those figures have him on the precipice of a new career high in sacks, as well as a career milestone. The former top-five pick currently has 99.5 career sacks, so his decision to keep playing is set to see him reach the century mark in that regard.

“The perception of how old you are and all those different things, I feel like that s— don’t matter,” Mack said, via Popper. “When you love the game and you put in the work, it’s always going to be a reflection. And I love this game and I come out and I work hard, man. Whether I was 23, 24 when I first got into the league or now, I’m still doing the same things.”

Indeed, Mack’s ability to turn back the clock this season has helped the Chargers post 41 sacks this year, good for third in the league. It has also helped compensate for the fact fellow starter Joey Bosa has been limited to nine games and 6.5 sacks this year. Presuming Mack can maintain his strong showing, his financial future will become an interesting storyline.

The Buffalo alum is under contract through 2024, and the final year of his monster extension dating back to his time with the Bears includes over $15.2MM in guaranteed money. Due to his latest restructure, Mack is set to carry a cap hit of $38.5MM next year, so working out an extension to lower that figure would be desirable from the team’s perspective, particularly if he were intent on continuing his career beyond the end of this campaign. Given his thoughts on retirement last winter, though, it will be interesting to see how he approaches the rest of his career after this season comes to a close.

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