Jon Gruden doesn’t seem to want Khalil Mack, but the Raiders front office has shown they aren’t really willing to trade him at the moment.
At the moment, there’s absolutely nothing happening between Khalil Mack and the Oakland Raiders. The team isn’t close to offering him the sort of contract he wants, but that doesn’t mean a trade is imminent either.
In fact, recent reports make it abundantly clear the Raiders aren’t ready to make a deal.
NFL Media is reporting that Raiders officials are telling teams they want two first-round picks in exchange for their Pro Bowl defender. Mack is a special defensive talent, but no team is going to be willing to pay that sort of price to acquire him.
Remember, any team making a move for Mack will need to satisfy the Raiders’ trade demands and Mack’s contract demands.
In the end, the Raiders should expect to get exactly half that in a trade for Mack. One first-round pick is probably the median potential outcome.
The team might be able to extract a first-round pick plus another meaningful asset in exchange for the defensive end, but the other asset in question certainly won’t be another first-rounder.
It’s entirely possible the Raiders don’t actually want to move Mack. Losing such a talented defender would be a massive blow to Gruden’s defense.
He certainly has a lot of confidence in his coaching abilities, but his defensive scheme would be tested to the hilt without Mack starring on the outside.
If you believe Oakland does want to lock up Mack for the long haul, playing it this cool could be the perfect way to drive his asking price down. That would be an exceptionally Machiavellian move by the Raiders, but no one should put such a strategy past Gruden.
In all fairness, that’s not the most likely truth. The simplest explanation is usually the right one. The Raiders are smart to ask for a king’s ransom to open up negotiations for Mack.
Starting out by asking for two first-round picks is the best way to make sure you end up with at least one in the end. Mack’s future with the Raiders is bleak at best.