OAKLAND’S Raiders are my second favorite NFL team, so I feel a need to offer a few words regarding the “The Trade”. I just didn’t think it would be right to do it before I released this week’s Four Things article. Having done that more than 24 hours ago, I feel like it’s now appropriate to me to weigh in.
Don’t get me wrong, DE Khalil Mack is the sort of guy every NFL fan, teammate, coach, GM and owner, wants on their team. From a talent standpoint, losing him hurts the Raiders. No Silver and Black fan can just look at this trade and shrug over it.
However, it’s not nearly as bad for the Raiders as the media is making it sound. While many are quick to judge it by what Oakland lost, I’m not sure that anybody is really asking: “Well what did Chicago gain?” I mean, everybody is asking that question, but I doubt anybody is REALLY asking that question. Because we all know that Mack did well for himself.
Understand, while Mack was on the team, the Raiders had a record of 28 – 36. With him, the defense has never finished higher than 21st in yards or 20th in points. Despite his individual sack numbers over the years, the Raiders have never been able to parlay that into an effect which the entire unit could capitalize on. (The Eagles for example, got as much pass-rush as any team in 2017, despite not having a single double digit sack artist.)
The Raiders had 31 sacks in 2017, 25 in 2016, 38 in 2015 and 22 in 2014. They averaged 29 sacks a year with Mack. If they meet or exceed 29 sacks in 2018, it will mathematically be saying that they became more effective as a team, in his absence. And that’s without factoring in whether or not the two first round picks they got for him, turn into decent players.
While I have no idea what Mack and his agent initially asked Oakland for in negotiations, the 6 year, 141M$ extension, gives a hell of a hint. The idea of paying a single DE, 20M$ per year, had to have Oakland thinking “Why?” “Where are the results?” “Six years of paying for more 28 – 36?” From that was born “The Trade”.
The burden for proving this trade wise isn’t on the Raiders. It never was. The price Oakland paid is all up front. It’s a done deal now. There are no hidden costs or fees on this transaction for them. In exchange for one player, this could become “The Great Trade Robbery 2.0”. The same can’t be said for the Bears. For them this trade is all about what comes next, and that can’t be accurately judged today.
The Bears haven’t been to the playoffs since 2010. That was the last time they won the division. In fact, the last FOUR times the Bears went to the playoffs, they had to win the division to do it. The last time they made the postseason without winning their division, was 1994. Back then it was the NFC Central and there were five teams in it (Chicago, Green Bay, Minnesota, Detroit and Tampa Bay).
When you ink a guy to 22M a year, you’re chasing playoff success. If the Bears win one Super Bowl during Mack’s contract, the trade is great one. If they see the Conference championship 3 of those years, it’s a good trade. If they win the division 4 of those years, (even if they make quick exits), it’s still a successful trade, because it changes the focal point of the division. However, anything short of that is utter failure.