Players like Khalil Mack are not allowed to trade. Not in the NFL. Not in a league where it was always safest to find good players and then develop them. Not under an economic system where a team can extend the contract of a coveted rookie to five years and then use the franchise label for a few seasons thereafter.
But Mack has actually been traded in an once unlikely deal that changes the on-field direction of two franchises and the playoff prospect in both conferences. The Oakland Raiders agreed on Saturday to send Mack, the season's outstanding pass ranger and former NFL defensive player of the year, to the Chicago Bears for a package containing two initial draft decisions, one person familiar with the situation and several reports confirmed
The deal was accompanied by a new contract for Mack with the Bears, making him the NFL's highest paid defensive player. Mack's six-year, $ 141 million deal includes approximately $ 90 million in guaranteed money and exceeds the six-year $ 135 million expansion by Aaron Donald, the incumbent NFL, according to the person in the consultation. Defensive Player of the Year (19659005) The Raiders will receive their first eliminations next year and in 2020, along with a third all-rounder in 2020 and a sixth all-rounder next year. The Bears, in addition to Mack, will receive a second round selection and a conditional fifth grader, both in 2020.
Donald's contract with the Rams, which included $ 87 million in guaranteed money, continued the market for Mack. But instead of committing Mack to a similar deal, the Raiders and their new coach, Jon Gruden, sent him off, leaving a team without their best player in a 6-10 season.
"With a change, as it was with head coach, I would say that anything could be possible," a front office manager said in the last few days of the possibility of a Mack trade, "especially because of the way it is Sounds like the relationship is already. "
Perhaps this is at least in part an economic decision of the Raiders, as some have speculated. They are reportedly one of the poorer franchise companies in the league, and they are about to leave the Bay Area for Las Vegas. They have awarded a number of significant contracts to players, including a $ 125 million five-year deal for quarterback Derek Carr. They lured Gruden back to the sideline of ESPN's Monday Night Football broadcaster with a deal worth $ 100 million in 10 years.
But from a footballing standpoint, it seems to signal that Gruden does not believe the Raiders are ready to win now. Instead, the Raiders will take advantage of the plethora of draft picks they receive from the Bears to try and place a contender on the field when they arrive in Vegas, which is expected in 2020. Gruden and the Raiders might try to spin otherwise. Gruden once said that defending the team last season was not very good either. But a team that wants to achieve big things in the near future does not voluntarily break up with a player from Mack's caliber.
He is a three-time pro-bowl pick in four NFL seasons. He has 40.5 sacks in his career. He was named once in the same season as First-Team All-Pro in two positions, defensive end and outside linebacker. He was the league's defensive player in 2016. He also plays a position, Edge Rusher, who is considered the quarterback's most valuable in the sport.
Former NFL player, scout and front office manager Louis Riddick, now an NFL analyst for ESPN, wrote on Twitter : "No logical reason for [the Raiders] moving this football This must be a cash problem, they do not let guys like [Mack] out of the door, their loss is [the Bears’] profit. "
Raiders linebacker Bruce Irvin was even more succinct in his social media reaction. Irvin wrote on Twitter, apparently in terms of trade: "No [expletive] way." He later wrote : "What a shock." Now go on and win … time to beat the Rams [in the season opener] !! "
Mack should be under his fifth rookie contract this season who was previously exercised by the Raiders to earn $ 13.846 million. He wanted a new contract and wanted to get it. The circumstances were almost identical to those of the Rams and Donalds. But while the Rams remained in constant dialogue and negotiated with Donald and his agents until they reached an agreement, the Raiders and Macks representatives had little or no contact.
Mack receives his contract. But it comes from the bears, not the Raiders. The move vaulted the bears into the conversation at NFC North. The Minnesota Vikings added quarterback Kirk Cousins in the offseason to a Super Bowl-ready team. The Green Bay Packers have a healthy Aaron Rodgers back and have made him the highest paid player in the NFL. The Detroit Lions have a new coach, Matt Patricia, who has inherited a team from a successful season and a franchise quarterback in Matthew Stafford.
The bears may have been left behind. They have hired a new coach in the offseason, Matt Nagy, and hope he can do for their young quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky, what Sean McVay did for Jared Goff and the Rams last season. But that alone would probably not have made Chicago a challenger.
Now, however, the Bears have added a true Difference Maker to their defense. The trade for Mack changes everything. Suddenly it is conceivable that the Bears are in the playoff mix in the NFC. They could be hot on the heels of Vikings and packers in the division, not just this season, but longer-term. Mack, that's good.
When Trubisky evolves, as the bears hope, Chicago suddenly has young cornerstones on both sides of the ball, allowing it to compete with Minnesota and Green Bay, both for success over the next few years. The costs can be high. But staying with these two teams would probably require courageous steps. This trade is as fat as it gets.
These things happen in the NFL. Defensive tackle Sean Gilbert was in a contract dispute for a whole season in 1997, leading the Washington Redskins to swap him for the Carolina Panthers.
But they do not happen often. And when they do, they shake up the natural order of things in the NFL. That's exactly what happened on Saturday.
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