If the Raiders do trade Khalil Mack, are the Packers a worthy favorite to land him?
Khalil Mack and the Oakland Raiders appear to be nowhere near an agreement on a contract extension, with trade rumors to remain until further notice. Just about every other team in the league would have interest in adding the 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, who racked up 36.5 sacks over the last three seasons and has yet to fully reach his prime. Players like Mack simply do not become available in the point of their careers he’s at.
The New York Jets have recently surfaced as a potential suitor for Mack, according to ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini which comes as little surprise given how much he’d bolster their lagging pass rush. But a team in the NFC has been tabbed as the betting favorite to land Mack, and it could be a case of history repeating itself.
Odds Shark lists the Green Bay Packers as the favorites to land Mack if he were to be moved out of Oakland.
With Brian Gutekunst replacing Ted Thompson as general manager, the Packers made some notable moves this offseason. Tight end Jimmy Graham was signed to give Aaron Rodgers a top-tier tight end for the first time in awhile, and in general there’s a different vibe of willing activity coming from Green Bay’s front office.
The expiring contracts Green Bay has after this season include outside linebacker Clay Matthews and wide receiver Randall Cobb. That could get over $23 million off the books heading into 2019. Some contract restructures would probably be needed, but even with a new deal that would pay Rodgers the gobs of money he deserves, the Packers have room to give Mack his own top of the market deal.
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie also worked under Thompson and his predecessor Ron Wolf in Green Bay, so some trust should be built-in if or when trade talks get going.
History would sort of be repeating itself if the Packers landed Mack. A quarter-century ago, back in 1993, Green Bay landed Reggie White and changed its fortune for the rest of the decade. White anchored a defense that allowed Brett Favre’s offense to dominate, which resulted in one of the winningest eras in franchise history. It could be argued that the Packers are still benefiting to this day, from brand recognition to franchise prominence, because of signing White.
Getting Mack and locking him in long-term could have a similar effect, perhaps to an even greater degree.
Having Rodgers back healthy puts the Packers back into the playoff conversation, and into a legit battle with the rival Minnesota Vikings to win the NFC North. But adding Mack would instantly make them a Super Bowl contender this year, and Gutekunst seems like he wouldn’t be afraid to pull the trigger on that kind of move.