Raiders trade Khalil Mack to Bears for lucrative package of draft picks

Yahoo Sports

The Oakland Raiders traded All-Pro pass rusher Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears. The deal, according to the latest report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, is official.

And per Schefter’s report, the bundle of draft picks headed to Oakland in return will essentially make Mack one of the most valuable defensive players in NFL history.

What are the Raiders getting in return?

The Raiders will reportedly get two first-round picks – the Bears’ 2019 and 2020 selections – plus a 2020 third-round pick and 2019 sixth-round pick.

The Bears, though, in addition to getting Mack will get a 2020 second-round pick and a conditional 2020 fifth-round pick from the Raiders, per Schefter. So …

That’s a hefty price. It is arguably the most expensive package ever paid for a defensive player. But it’s a necessarily hefty one for one of football’s unmistakable stars. The trade will almost certainly go down as the biggest of the NFL year, and perhaps one of the biggest in modern NFL history.

Why are the Raiders trading Mack?

Mack was entering the final year of his contract, and remained at odds with Raiders brass over how lucrative an extension would be. Mack believed he should be paid his worth as one of the best defensive players in the league. The Raiders, under new head coach Jon Gruden, wouldn’t meet the asking price.

So Mack’s holdout had no end in sight, and the prospect of him missing regular-season games became more probable by the day.

Khalil Mack was the NFL’s defensive player of the year in 2016 with the Oakland Raiders. Now he’s reportedly off to the Chicago Bears. (Getty)
Khalil Mack was the NFL’s defensive player of the year in 2016 with the Oakland Raiders. Now he’s reportedly off to the Chicago Bears. (Getty)

Rather than pay Mack, or rather than deal with the holdout drama and let the 27-year-old walk as a free agent after the 2018 season, the Raiders have reportedly opted to trade him.

Mack was the Raiders’ first-round pick – fifth overall – in 2014. He was the NFL’s defensive player of the year in 2016. He is a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro selection.

Where does Mack fit in Chicago?

A player of Mack’s caliber fits on any roster, in almost any scheme. He has excelled as – and been named an All-Pro first-teamer as – both an outside linebacker and defensive end. He can can play in a 4-3 or a 3-4.

He will immediately elevate Chicago’s pass rush to one of the best in the league under first-year head coach Matt Nagy. He’ll play alongside the Bears’ 2016 first-round pick, Leonard Floyd, and join a front seven that also includes Akiem HicksEddie Goldman, Danny Trevathan and 2018 first-round pick Roquan Smith.

Mack got a lucrative extension

Hours after the deal, Mack and the Bears reportedly agreed on a six-year extension valued at $141 million.

The Bears were in position to absorb Mack’s $13.8 million salary-cap hit for the 2018 season. They negotiated a long-term extension in the same stratosphere as the one Aaron Donald signed with the Rams on Friday.

Donald’s deal – six years, $135 million, $87 million guaranteed – is the richest for a defensive player in NFL history. Mack will reportedly get $90 million guaranteed and average $23.5 million per year.

The Bears think they can win now

The Bears have not had a winning record since 2012. They have not made the playoffs since 2010. The franchise has been searching for a direction for some time.

But it drafted quarterback Mitchell Trubisky with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 draft, and turned to the North Carolina product five weeks into his rookie season. It then fired John Fox and hired Nagy, a bright, young offensive mind, at the helm.

Chicago is confident it has the pieces in place to win soon rather than later. That’s why it’s been so active this offseason. And that’s why it’s now sacrificing two potential future stars, in the form of two first-round picks, for one superstar in his prime.

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