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Raiders fans hoping to see Khalil Mack stay in Oakland should start preparing for the worst. All signs continue to point toward a trade.
While the Rams are inching closer and closer to an extension with Aaron Donald, the Raiders are actively engaged in trade talks with multiple teams about Khalil Mack. No deal for the Pro Bowl defender is imminent, but there’s no momentum for Mack getting a new deal from Jon Gruden and company.
Predictably, there’s been a lot of interest in Mack throughout the NFL. Reportedly 12 teams have already made contact with the Raiders to inquire what it might take to acquire him. According to Pro Football Talk, four teams have risen above their peers to qualify as “exploring the possibility very seriously.”
If the Raiders’ front office was just trying to put some pressure on Mack’s camp to agree to the contract they’ve offered, they wouldn’t waste their time dealing with so many different teams. The fact that they’re still talking to over one-third of the NFL makes it clear they’re seriously considering making a trade. Any team that wants to take Mack on would presumably be willing to hand him a new deal paying him more than $20 million per season.
The number of teams interested in dealing for Mack should give the Raiders organization serious pause. Even if they receive multiple premium draft assets in exchange for the disruptive edge rusher there are no guarantees they can find a player with anything close to his amount of talent. There’s a reason so many teams are willing to make him one of the highest paid defenders in the NFL.
Guys who can impact a game like Mack don’t come around very often. When they do, most teams that are fortunate enough to draft them, pay the sort of money required to keep them around throughout their prime.
Clearly, Gruden doesn’t see Mack as a generational talent. The 10-year, fully guaranteed contract he got from the Raiders makes him one of the only coaches in the game who can afford to let a player of Mack’s talent and experience get away without risk of it costing him his job. Time will tell whether this looks like a stroke of genius or a temporary bout of insanity for the Raiders.