The Oakland Raiders have now traded Khalil Mack, but rumors indicate that the trouble is far from over after the team ended the months-long holdout with its star player by shipping him to Chicago.
Early on Saturday, reports indicated that the Raiders had an agreement with the Chicago Bears to trade the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Mack had been away from the team for several months as he sought a contract extension, and the rift between him and the team grew even wider as he missed the entirety of training camp and the preseason. But trading him away has not ended their troubles, Peter King suggested.
The Sports Illustrated writer noted that the Raiders are sending a mixed message to other players in refusing to give Mack the contract extension and the raise that many believe he deserves. As 247 Sports had noted, Mack had been seeking somewhere in the neighborhood of $22 million per year, which would be roughly $3 million more per year than Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller. But it would also be in line with the 6-year, $135 million contract that Los Angeles Rams pass rusher Aaron Donald just signed, setting the market for star defensive players.
With this trade, Raiders announce they’re not willing to pay great players. Good luck selling that to Vegas-and to their locker room.— Peter King (@peter_king) September 1, 2018
As King suggested, the refusal to pay Mack what he seems to deserve based on performance could make a rocky transition to their new home in Las Vegas and hurt them as a free agent destination.
He wasn’t the only one puzzled by the news. Louis Riddick of ESPN was also confused as to why the Raiders would let Mack go when they had the cap space to pay what he was asking, suggesting that it reflected badly on an organization more concerned with saving money.
No logical reason for #raiders to make this “football” move. No salary cap reason either. This has to be a cash issue. You do not let guys like @52Mack_ out the door. Their loss is #bears gain. ????????♂️— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) September 1, 2018
There are already signs that the Khalil Mack trade could be causing a rift in the Raiders locker room. Quarterback Derek Carr, who has been vocal in his desire that the team keeps Mack, and didn’t seem to be happy about the development on Saturday. He took to Twitter in an apparent slam against his team, refusing to hide his displeasure with the trade.
Even the franchise’s flagship player can’t hide his disgust at the Khalil Mack trade.— Peter King (@peter_king) September 1, 2018
There had been reports that Oakland Raiders coach John Gruden was leaning toward trading Khalil Mack, believing that the Raiders could use the money saved from his enormous contract to fill the many other holes they have on defense. It’s not immediately clear what the Raiders got in return for Mack, but the asking price was reportedly two first-round draft picks.