One of the big questions about the Khalil Mack trade was how other Raiders would react. If Bruce Irvin is any indication, the move isn’t going over well.
It’s safe to say Bruce Irvin isn’t happy to see his pass rushing partner leave via trade. His reaction on social media to Khalil Mack’s trade to the Bears should be a big concern for the Raiders front office.
In fairness, no one should have expected Irvin to react positively. He’s a player squarely in his prime who wants to win now. The Raiders’ decision to trade Mack for two first round picks is clearly a sign the franchise is going into a rebuild. It’s very possible At 30 years of age, Irvin isn’t the right age to wait around for the team’s young corp to develop into a contender.
In fact, it’s fair to question whether or not Irvin might be the next big star on the trading block in Oakland. If Jon Gruden really decides a full tear down is in order, he might want to get value for Irvin while he’s still a dynamic edge rusher. Moving him would also free up snaps for 2018 first round pick Arden Key.
Irvin isn’t the only NFL personality who thinks this is massive mistake by Gruden and company. ESPN’s Emmanuel Acho calls the move an example of a “cocky coach thinking he can win without his superstars.” That’s an opinion that is almost certainly shared by a number of current players around the league.
The Raiders need to act fast to enact some damage control. The first thing they should do is reach out to Irvin to reassure him about his future in Oakland. Giving him a day to cool off might be prudent, but they can’t go too long without communicating to their veteran pass rusher.
Oakland also would be well served to hand out some contracts to players they see as key parts of their immediate future in the coming days. There’s a prominent theory out there that insists the Raiders dealt Mack because they didn’t want to pay him big money. That could come back to haunt Oakland in free agency moving forward. No one wants to sign with a franchise who isn’t willing to pay superstars the money required to keep them.
The decision to deal Mack is going to be debated in Oakland for years to come. Don’t be surprised if a few more of his former teammates’ express displeasure with the Raiders’ decision over the next few days.