Khalil Mack reflects on being traded from the Raiders to the Bears originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Before the 2018 season, the Bears swung for the fences and hit one out of the park.
They traded for Khalil Mack, then the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year. The Bears packaged their 2019 first- and sixth-round sections and 2020 first- and third-round choices for Mack.
Did Mack take the move personally?
"Oh, absolutely. At the time, I took it very personally," Mack told Chris Long on his podcast Green Light. "Just understanding, we didn't have much on defense. I feel like everybody on the offense is getting paid. Throughout the process, I felt like I wasn't getting much help on defense."
Khalil Mack took the Raiders trade PERSONALLY😤 pic.twitter.com/hGvajSp31O
— Green Light with Chris Long (@greenlight) September 13, 2023
The Raiders tore down their organization to the studs during the 2018 offseason.
They moved on from Jack Del Rio, hiring Jon Gruden in his place. They traded Mack and, notably, Amari Cooper to free up cap space. Subsequently, they earned over $80 million in cap space in 2019.
This was the team's direction after finishing 6-10 during the 2017 season. The season prior, they notched a 12-4 record before losing in the AFC wild-card game to the Houston Texans. A 2018 season filled with disappointment pushed them to hit the restart button.
That sent Mack to Chicago.
But, not without a caveat from the Raiders' preference on their star edge's landing spot.
"And they sent me to Chicago, which perceivably was supposed to be the worst option," Mack said. "I thought San Fran was one of the top offers. I feel like they offered technically the best deal but they weren't gonna take it from San Fran because they knew the potential of what could be or what could happen."
The Raiders knew the 49ers were on the cusp of success.
Hence, they sent Mack to Chicago.
Ironically, Mack and the Bears finished with the league's best defense that season. They allowed 17.6 points per game that season, leading the NFL. They also led the league in turnovers, taking away the ball 36 times, 12 more times than the second-place Browns.