The focus shifted quickly though as defensive end Khalil Mack found himself a new home when the Chicago Bears agreed to surrender a couple first-round picks to the Oakland Raiders for the 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Trading away the team's best player, pass-rushing star Khalil Mack. "He brings a ton on the field, but he really fits what we are building in our locker room, too". This offseason, Oakland exercised their right to pick up Mack's fifth year option at an annual salary of $13.846 million.
Mack had been holding out with the Raiders; he did not participate in Oakland's offseason program, training camp or preseason games while seeking a new contract. For the Raiders, they just could not get an extension done with Mack, who now moves on to Chicago to lead a defense that should be much-improved over last season. Multiple NFL reporters, including ESPN's Adam Schefter and NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, are reporting GM Ryan Pace will send Oakland two first-round picks as part of the deal. The Bears finally have the star-caliber player they've been missing on defense.
He went from Raiders holdout to Bears outside linebacker and the highest-paid defender in National Football League history. Other than a few seasons lost to injuries, they were generally very good players still from age 27 to 30. The Raiders decided, per McKenzie via Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review Journal, to try and target the team most likely to give them a high pick, or the team most likely to give them the highest pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
"What a shock. Now move on and win. time to beat the Rams!"
The former Seattle Seahawks defender is entering his third season with the Raiders and in that time period, he has amassed 115 combined tackles, 15 for loss, 15 sacks and 10 forced fumbles.
Gruden had called Mack Oakland's best player but chose to go in a different direction rather than give another player a contract worth more than $20m a year after Carr got a lucrative extension last summer.
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Oakland hosts the Rams on September 10. Mack has accumulated double-digit sack numbers in the last three seasons with the Raiders.
The only first-round picks by the Bears to make a Pro Bowl as a Bear since 2001 are Tommie Harris and Kyle Long. The victor of this deal likely comes down to just how good the Bears become, and how good Mack remains.
This is one of the worst moves Gruden could have decided to make, and there's no way the guys in the front office were on the same page about this.
Despite joining the Bears late, Mack hopes to see action in the regular-season opener against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 9. They had already loaded up around quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. They are a franchise on the rise, with a younger core that features Leonard Floyd, Kyle Fuller, Roquan Smith, Eddie Jackson, Akiem Hicks and Danny Trevathan - and now, Mack.
It's a deal that clearly signifies that the Bears are in go-for-it mode.