By the time you read this, Khalil Mack answered questions at Halas Hall. In Lake Forest, Illinois, the best defender the Raiders had in the past fifteen years, stood with a Bears jersey. If that visual does not jar you, time to rethink your choice of rooting interest. Yet, for all of the commotion over the past 72 hours, one fact still amazes me. Khalil Mack is not a member of the Oakland Raiders
In my wildest dreams, that day would not arrive. Maybe when Mack hit 38 and he struggles to get upfield. However, at 27, the sight of him in a Bears uniform will always freak me out. Although the time to look forward is now, let us look back to see what occurred.
Khalil Mack wanted a gigantic, well-earned raise. However, the Raiders did not appear inclined to meet his request. While the team offered at least twenty million, Mack sought more. In fact, he craved the richest defender deal. Last week, Aaron Donald signed the most lucrative deal in league history. Meanwhile, Mack and his agent David Segal sought to top Donald. In all honesty, who could blame him? Agents are duty-bound to seek the most money for their clients. If you blame Mack or Segal for wanting money, you are doing this wrong. Trust me, the blame goes elsewhere. Below this sentence, blame gets explained.
If you sit back and honestly reflect on this offseason, how does this trade occur? For months, reports funneling out about no communication between Mack and Jon Gruden surfaced. In his defense, Gruden made overtures to Mack. In other words, he tried to communicate. Yet, how isn’t it the number one, most pressing task to sign a cornerstone defender? When weeks turned into months, the anxiety level rose for everyone.
If you read Reggie’s McKenzie’s quotes and NFL insider tweets, the decision to seek trade partners was not his. As a result, this trade falls squarely on Jon Gruden’s shoulders. From pundits to football minds, everyone panned this deal and vilified Gruden all weekend.
When Gruden returned to Oakland, the fanbase celebrated a coach with vision. However, the same coach poked out an eye, rendering the team semi-blind.
In reality, the Raiders changed their probable future on Saturday. Whether it is a positive one, remains to be seen. What we do know is that Khalil Mack, franchise cornerstone, calls Chicago home.