When the Raiders open their preseason schedule, the hope remain that Khalil Mack will suit up. Among the fanbase, a small portion actually wants to blame the superstar defensive end for skipping OTAs. While his agent negotiates a long-term deal, some feel that Mack should play out his contract and sign in the offseason. Khalil Mack should not be the source of your frustration. That needs to reside with one group: the NFLPA.
Like most unions, the NFLPA fancies itself as a voice for the labor portion of any organization. That is to say, they speak for the masses. Unlike most unions, the NFLPA continues to stockpile losses versus the owners.
In basketball and baseball, holdouts essentially do not exist. One reason being, every NBA and MLB deal is guaranteed. The moment a pen hits paper, that player will see every penny of the dollar amount. However, in the NFL, superstars like Mack must rely on the guaranteed portion of the contract. Meaning, a certain percentage of the deal cannot be touched if the Raiders cut Mack. In reality, why should Mack show up without a monster deal? For his immense skill set, Mack is regarded as one of the very best at his position. The NFLPA continuously agreed to awful collective nargaining that did not cement long-term deals for players.
In addition, when the notion of a holdout arises and financial security gets mentioned, some fans use a lazy dismissal “ NFL players know what they get into” Granted, on a superficial level that point remains true. Yet, for players, they incur all of the physical liability.
While the owners reap the benefits, player endure pain and lingering injuries. For example, do the names Dennis Byrd, Mike Utley, Reggie Brown, and Kevin Everett ring any bells? Each suffered career-ending paralysis during a game. With every snap, the potential for the Raiders or any NFL to lose a player to profound injury remains. Yet, teams can walk away from broken players that scarificied their bodies for a franchise. Sadly, the NFLPA consists of former players and they should know the long-term effects of football. Fighting for this should rank at the top of the list when the CBA expires after the 2020 season.
Exception, No Rule
No hard rule exists that prohibits teams like the Raiders from giving Khalil Mack a fully guaranteed deal. In fact, the Vikings signed Kirk Cousins to a three-year, 84 million dollar, fully guaranteed deal in the spring. This deal should have provided the blueprint for the NFLPA to fight for universal guarantees. However, with the NFLPA previously mentioned failings (unchecked commissioner power, drug concessions), concern exists. Khalil Mack sits at home, probably knowing the best move for his financial future is to wait for this deal.
While fans can bash Mack and foolishly want him traded or released, the problem remains. His union failed to gain any ground and make any headway in securing contracts. The Raiders will eventually pay Khalil Mack. If the NFLPA won this battle years ago, Mack’s deal would possess a signature.