Report: Multiple teams interested in trading for Chargers’ Khalil Mack

On a Sunday morning edition of SportsCenter, Jeremy Fowler reported that multiple teams have interest in Chargers edge defender Khalil Mack as the calendar turns to March.

In a trade for Mack, the Chargers would save roughly $23 million on the salary cap. That move alone would put them around $2 million over the new $255.4M cap figure.

Regarding value in return, it isn’t easy to ascertain exactly what Mack’s market is. Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger had a trade evaluation last week of a 2025 fourth-round pick for the Chargers in return.

One question is how much leverage Joe Hortiz would have in these discussions. Mack has a high cap hit due to 2023’s max restructure and other teams are likely aware of the Chargers’ cap situation. While Mack is coming off of a 17-sack season, as Fowler mentioned, will other teams be convinced that they’re getting that version of the star pass rusher as opposed to his 2022 or 2021 outputs? Those factors make getting high draft compensation back for Mack seemingly tricky.

He is also 33 and on an expiring contract. Perhaps talk of an extension could be surfaced with any team absorbing his 2023 cap number to reduce the strain. But that’s more theoretical than not, as Mack can still choose to enter free agency next year, with the cap presumably further increasing in 2025.

Another thing to consider for the Chargers is the status of the position room. Would the Chargers be OK with an oft-injured Joey Bosa leading the way next to Tuli Tuipulotu? Or would they pursue a potential nuclear option of trading/cutting both star pass rushers? How much Hortiz and Jim Harbaugh want to balance 2024 and 2025 resources and capital plays into that discussion.

The Chargers’ real choices are to cut Mack to save money, trade him at a somewhat diminished value due to the cap hit and age concerns, or keep him for 2024. If Mack is willing to stay around, he seems to be the most productive member of the restructured quartet of players outside Keenan Allen.

Without the right deal that includes a lower day two or higher day three draft pick for 2024, keeping Mack may make the most sense in the transition to the Harbaugh era. The Chargers may not have the leverage they’d theoretically want in a trade for either of their star pass rushers due to the reasons previously mentioned.

Story originally appeared on Chargers Wire