It will have been three years since Khalil Mack was traded from the then-Oakland Raiders in less than a month. One of the biggest trades in recent NFL history, how does it look today?
Superstar on the move
As all NFL fans know, Mack is one of the league’s best players. Before being traded, Mack was a three-time All-Pro and 2016 Defensive Player of the Year. He is one of the best players in franchise history. As such, it seemed obvious that he would be re-signed by the Raiders. Other players due for contract extensions knew this as well, players such as Derek Carr structured their deals to give room for Mack as well. Head coach Jon Gruden even promised to bring the star pass rusher back to Oakland.
Alas, after holding out for the entire preseason, Mack was traded to the Chicago Bears. The deal, as expected, was a massive one. Sent to the Bears along with Mack was a 2020 second-round pick and a 2020 seventh-round pick. Going to the Raiders was a 2019 first-round pick, a 2020 first-round pick, 2019 sixth-round pick, and a 2019 third-round pick. On the day of the trade, Mack would sign a six-year contract extension that made him the highest-paid defensive player in history.
Finally, all the picks from this trade have been used. The Bears used their 2020 second-rounder to add tight end, Cole Kmet. The former Notre Dame star projects as Chicago’s starting tight end in 2021 and has good potential at the position. They used their seventh-round pick to select guard Arlington Hambright.
The Raiders used the two first-round picks on running back Josh Jacobs and cornerback Damon Arnette. Jacobs found instant NFL success as he has rushed for 1,000 yards in both of his first two seasons. Arnette however, struggled immensely in his rookie year while also dealing with Covid-19 and concussions. Surprisingly, the 2019 sixth-rounder was included in multiple trades that resulted in the acquisitions of Trayvon Mullen, Maxx Crosby, Isaiah Johnson, Foster Moreau, and Quinton Bell. They also were able to add receiver Bryan Edwards with the extra third-round pick.
The Bears have had more success than the Raiders
Since making the trade, the Bears have made the postseason every year. The Raiders, however, have not. Of course, Mack has been a major part of the Bears’ successes. Since he arrived in 2018, Chicago has featured one of the league’s most terrifying defenses. With the returns from the Mack trade, Las Vegas has built the core of their young team.
Alas, the Raiders still would’ve been better off with Mack. While the returns have netted starters at various positions, there is no way to easily replace a player of Mack’s caliber. At his best, he is arguably the best pass rusher in the league and at his worst, he is still top ten. The Raiders have been looking to replace him ever since and it is likely they never truly will.
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*Top Photo: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports