Everybody has their own opinion on the Oakland Raiders’ off-season so far. However, it’s safe to say that all of Raider Nation shares the same opinion of Khalil Mack; he needs to stay.
With an extension for him looming, we’ve seen the Silver & Black play the budget game this year in free agency, by going after one-year, bargain players. There have been several reports about the Raiders and Mack, but how close are they really? Let’s dive right in.
On February 28th, Vic Tafur reported that the Raiders had made an offer to Mack. He went on to say that Mack was “in the process of evaluating the offer”. With this information, we can conclude that at least one side is interested in getting this done.
Then recently, Oakland began voluntary offseason workouts, one of the first official times that new head coach Jon Gruden could meet the team. Khalil Mack wasn’t in attendance. This could be taken two ways. Some fans took this as a sign he might hold-out from team activities until a new deal gets hammered out. Most took it with a grain of salt since the workouts were voluntary anyways.
The Raiders’ front office has seemed to remain rather calm on the situation. General manager Reggie McKenzie was asked about the situation by NFL.com’s Steve Wyche, and he had some big things to say.
“This is going to be a big contract and all sides are trying to make everything work. It’s about the end result. One thing I know is we love Khalil Mack and we want to make him a Raider for life. We’ll get through all the other stuff. We understand the business part of it. Everybody is aware of everything and nobody is surprised. Everything, on all sides is positive. I can’t stress that enough.“
These are certainly very encouraging words to hear. In an offseason that has seen it’s fair share of roster-shuffling, it is clear the Raiders want to keep Mack around long-term. The part of the statement that encourages me the most, is where McKenzie says “all sides are trying to make this work”. That shows that Mack is on board with an extension.
Then, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport claimed the Raiders and Mack were “not particularly close to an extension.”
“It’s not clear if one is coming in the coming days”, Rapoport said. “Probably not, from what I understand, they do not seem particularly close. Until they get to that point, Khalil Mack is just going to work out on his own, while Jon Gruden works with his new players.“
That’s certainly a change of course from what we’ve previously heard. However, it still shouldn’t be a cause for concern. A deal might not be close now, but given the previous quote from McKenzie, it’s reasonable to expect that an extension should be completed sometime in the summer, or before training camp.
Now that we’re confident an extension should happen, what will it look like? The highest paid pass-rusher right now is Von Miller. Miller is about to enter the third year of a six-year, $114 million contract. Miller will get paid $19 million this season. Mack and Miller have both been very good, and are easily the top two pass-rushers in the league. Therefore, it should be expected that Mack will make somewhere around $20 million per year. That’s a given.
What’s not a given, is the length of the contract. Miller got six years on his. The Raiders consider Derek Carr the face of their franchise, and only gave him five years. This is an assumption, but it’s my guess the two sides in these negotiations are disagreeing on the length of the contract. The Raiders should be content to give Mack around $20 million a year. However, who knows if they’d be willing to give Mack that money for six years. It will be very interesting to see how long Mack gets on this extension.
It’s safe to say Mack will be wearing a Raiders’ jersey for a long time. A deal isn’t close now, but it’s not unreasonable to expect one by the start of the 2018 season.
Mack is set to get a huge raise, and he’s earned every penny of it.