Khalil Mack may have played his last down for the Oakland Raiders.
As the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year continues his holdout, there are increasing rumors across the NFL that the Raiders may look to trade him rather than continue working on a contract extension that has seemed to go nowhere. After the holdout forced Mack to miss the team’s first preseason game, Sports Illustrated noted that a trade is becoming an increasingly likely outcome, with the Raiders most probably moving Mack before the season were to begin.
Mack’s holdout with the Oakland Raiders hinges around the final year of his $13.8 million rookie contract. Mack has remained away from the team and hasn’t met with new head coach John Gruden through offseason workouts and minicamp as he seeks a contract extension.
The Raiders have turned former 49ers second-round pick Tank Carradine to fill in for Mack, but his career has been filled with injury and disappointing performances. If the Raiders were to lose Mack for any regular season games, it would be a major hit to their defense and could take them out of contention in an increasingly competitive AFC West.
The holdout is not just hurting the Raiders on the field, it’s also hitting Mack’s wallet pretty hard as well. As ESPN reported, the NFL All-Pro is facing an $814,000 fine for not reporting to the team’s training camp and missing its first preseason game.
It is not clear exactly where Khalil Mack could go in a trade, or just what the Raiders could be asking in return. ESPN noted that the New York Jets would likely be one of the teams interested. Jets reporter Rich Cimini said the move would seem to fit the aggressive regime in charge in New York.
“Will they? I wouldn’t be surprised if they do,” Cimini wrote. “The Jets have a proactive front office (see: the trade up for Darnold) and they’re always looking for ways to improve the roster. No matter what Todd Bowles says publicly, the organization recognizes that outside linebacker is their biggest need. Jordan Jenkins is a competent first- and second-down player against the run, but there’s no one who can rush from the edge. Their current leading sacker at the position is David Bass (3.5 sacks last season), and he might not make the team. It’s hard to run a 3-4 defense without a ‘rush’ linebacker.”
Despite the rampant NFL rumors, the Oakland Raiders have given no official indication that Khalil Mack could be on the trading block.