Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack is not budging in his contract demands, but it would be asinine for Oakland to consider moving him out of the Bay Area.
It doesn’t appear Khalil Mack will be attending training camp anytime soon, as the linebacker’s hold out has officially reached double-digit days.
The Raiders defensive playmaker is in his final year of his rookie contract. He is scheduled to make $13.8 million, but is looking for a lucrative raise. And the Raiders need to find a way to pay him, rather than shop him.
Mack, who was selected fifth-overall in the 2014 NFL Draft, has played a key role in the franchises revival. Since entering the league, he has tallied 303 tackles, 40.5 sacks, 11 deflected passes and nine forced fumbles.
His dominance on the the field has earned him many accolades including: 2016 Defensive Player of the Year, two-time First Team All-Pro and three-time Pro Bowler. Mack joined former Raiders great, Lester Hayes, as the only two players to earn the Defensive Player of the Year award.
According to Pro Football Focus, Mack was ranked the seventh-best player in the NFL’s top 50 players for 2018. He was also the only Raider named on the list and joined the likes of Aaron Donald (No. 1), Luke Kuechly (No. 5) and Von Miller (No. 8) as the only defensive players in the top 10. He was also ranked 16th in NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2018.
The prolific linebacker has been extremely productive and Raiders would not be able to replace him if they end up trading him. Although head coach Jon Gruden believes the defense wasn’t great last year with Mack, it would have been a disaster without him.
Oakland’s defense does not have the overall talent to pick up the slack if it were to lose Mack. He is the only player on the roster to record double-digit sacks in three consecutive seasons and the most respected defensive player on the roster. To expect players like Bruce Irvin or rookie Arden Key to fill the void left by Mack is ludicrous.
In addition, what could the Raiders possibly get in return for trading a player with Mack’s caliber? A first-round pick? Several first-round picks? Oakland’s current roster is built to win now. Remember, just two seasons ago the Raiders finished 12-4. First-round picks would be nice, but they don’t help the team win now, Mack does.
Furthermore, first-round picks are only valuable if the Raiders select the right guy. Since 2007 (10 total picks), outside of Mack and Amari Cooper, Oakland hasn’t had much success in that department.
Gruden can say whatever he wants about Mack and the defense, but the bottom line is this team needs him. Trading the edge rusher should not be on the team’s agenda and moving him out of Oakland would be detrimental to the franchise.