Right before the official start of the 2018 NFL season, a shocking trade was made when the Las Vegas Raiders moved on from Khalil Mack.
The initial reaction across the board was pure surprise and disbelief, and rightfully so. The Silver and Black had just traded a future Hall of Famer. Now, just because of the shock factor associated with the trade, it doesn’t mean this was a bad move. However, as is commonplace with anything surrounding this franchise, many were quick with the tongue, slow to let things marinate and legitimately analyze it.
In defense of those who were critical, there’s no denying it initially looked bad for the Raiders at the time. Heading into the 2018 season they had nothing to show from the trade. Meanwhile, the Chicago Bears were fueled by a Mack-led defense to their best season since 2006. The Bears were riding high and if it weren’t for a string of uncanny bad luck from their kicker Cody Parkey, at the very least, they would have advanced to the NFC Divisional Round.
A trade of this magnitude certainly isn’t predicated on one season; if it were, the Bears fleeced the Raiders. Once the 2019 NFL Draft rolled around, the results of Mack trade were seen. The specifics included Chicago also receiving a second and now seventh round pick in 2020 while Las Vegas gained a 2019 first round pick and sixth round pick to go with a 2020 first and third round pick.
With former NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock now serving as the general manager, he began to work his magic alongside head coach Jon Gruden. Weeks before the draft began last year, this duo initiated what would become a flurry of transactions by offloading Kelechi Osemele’s $10.2 million contract, trading him and the sixth round pick from the Bears (No. 196) to the Jets for their fifth round pick (No. 140).
The snowball of trades that ensued resulted in six of the nine selections made by the Raiders all having some link to the Khalil Mack trade. One day prior to trading Osemele, the Raiders used their third and fifth round picks in a deal for troubled wide receiver Antonio Brown. Once the Osemele trade was completed, the Raiders were back in round five, but not so fast.
The fifth rounder (No. 140) via the Jets was then thrown in a deal with picks 35 and 235 for the 38th and 109th selections from the Jaguars. From there, the Raiders used the 38th overall pick to acquire two more selections. Those being No. 40 and 158 and with the 40th pick, they drafted cornerback Trayvon Mullen. The 158th pick was used with the 218th in a trade with Dallas for the 149th selection, which they use to draft wide receiver Hunter Renfrow.
Still tracking along?
Reverting back to the trade with the Jaguars, the 109th pick was traded to the Colts for two more picks. The Raiders then drafted cornerback Isaiah Johnson with the 129th overall pick and traded the 135th that was also acquired from the Colts. Pick 135 turned into two more selections from Atlanta as the Raiders drafted tight end Foster Moreau at 137 and defensive end Quinton Bell with the 230th pick.
Here’s a diagram of the Mack trade and all that stemmed from it.
Here’s a diagram of the Khalil Mack trade. pic.twitter.com/mwh9oMZBmN
— Christopher Engelage (@SportsWithChris) April 7, 2020
With the 2020 NFL draft a few weeks away, the Raiders hold Chicago’s first and third round pick while the Bears hold Las Vegas’ second and seventh round selections. Mike Mayock and company are no strangers to making trades so don’t be surprised if and when more moves are made. As evidence from the highly productive 2019 rookie class, the Raiders are primed to bring in more talent once again with at least two more players being added to the end result of the Mack trade.
The analysis will go on for many years to come and a ‘winner’ of the trade won’t be clear for some time if at all. As it stands for the time being, both teams appear to be in good spots. Of course that is a matter of opinion, so let me hear yours. Are you confident where the Raiders are post-Mack with Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden navigating their second draft together?
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