The Las Vegas (then Oakland) Raiders, as it turns out, really did try to do Khalil Mack dirty, or at least that’s how the future Pro Football Hall of Famer sees it.
It’s a topic that’s going to be talked about for decades. Mack’s departure from the Raiders left such a hole in the hearts of fans that one has to wonder if it’ll ever be filled. The Raiders, like any team, are a business. In their storied history, there have been a multitude of less-than-graceful exits. However, this one stings to this day. So, when the topic of that fateful occurrence was rekindled on Chris Long’s Green Light Podcast, we all couldn’t help but listen. More importantly, all these years later, Mack opened up about how things went down from his point of view.
There’s a sect within Raider Nation that simply sees Mack’s predicament as a financial one. He wanted to get paid, and that’s what he got. Still, that’s highly shortsighted. Mack stated that as his Raiders tenure drew to a close, it felt as if everyone was getting paid. Well, except for him. If you recall, several players on the offense were receiving deals; however, none was bigger than the new incoming head coach at that time, Jon Gruden.
Khalil Mack took the Raiders trade PERSONALLY? pic.twitter.com/hGvajSp31O
— Green Light with Chris Long (@greenlight) September 13, 2023
Mack also made a fair point: there wasn’t a ton of investment in the Raiders’ defense during those years. While Mack himself was a stud and a superstar in the making, the defense itself wasn’t very good. After he was jettisoned, things stayed about the same. The point is, perhaps the Raiders made the right call. Why pay one player so much on a defense that isn’t delivering? It clearly wasn’t making a difference, big-picture-wise.
Did the Raiders act petty by purposely shipping Khalil Mack to Chicago?
If you recall, prior to Mack’s arrival, the Bears were 5-11 in 2017. As Chicago was in the midst of a coaching change that offseason, Mack came into a situation that likely didn’t inspire optimism. More so when you consider that the San Francisco 49ers really tried their hardest to acquire No. 52. Imagine that if you’re Mack, going from a bottom-feeder team to a perennial contender, he must stay up at night thinking about that.
Mack himself stated that the Raiders did him dirty, shipping him to the “worse option” possible. At this point, the trade really seems like a wash. The 32-year-old ended up getting paid and played on a 12-4 Bears team, which was followed up by consecutive .500 campaigns. For the Raiders, most of the draft capital acquired in exchange for Mack went by the wayside. Now a member of the Los Angeles Chargers, Mack’s exit will continue to be one of the organization’s most glaring low points.
*Top Photo: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images