Why would the Oakland Raiders ever trade All-Pro defensive end Khalil Mack? We take a look at it from Jon Gruden’s perspective.
Why the Raiders? Why do these sort of things always happen to the Raiders? From moving cities to trading their best player away. Raider nation is arguably the most tortured fan base in all of sports. If you’re still a fan, kudos to you for sticking it out. If you’ve decided you can’t support this team anymore, then I don’t blame you.
The last 15 years have been filled with so many atrocities that I can’t fault someone for being fed up. The Khalil Mack trade was the last straw for some fans. It was like a punch to the gut and a slap in the face simultaneously.
Why would Gruden do this? Trading away your best player is asinine. It just doesn’t make sense to trade Mack away. Or does it? Does it really not make any sense? I’m going to disagree with that notion. The logic that Jon Gruden used in the decision to trade Khalil Mack is not a flawed one.
Why did Jon Gruden trade Khalil Mack? Simple. He doesn’t think the defense is well-tooled. Why drain so much of your resources into one player on defense when there are needs all over? Gruden said it best, the defense wasn’t good with Mack.
More from Just Blog Baby
- Raiders news: Free agent TE Foster Moreau diagnosed with cancer
- Order your Jimmy Garoppolo Las Vegas Raiders gear now
- Las Vegas Raiders: 2023 NFL Draft will make-or-break David Ziegler Era
- Raiders news: Jimmy Garoppolo offered a different kind of deal
- Raiders 2023 NFL Draft: Trading down for an elite DT on Day 1
That’s not saying that it was Mack’s fault of course, it’s more a shot at the rest of the defense. The lack of talent all around is why the defense has been horrid. Funneling everything into one player will just cripple the team’s ability to add pieces.
This also means that Gruden doesn’t see this team as “win now”. They’ll compete and make some noise this season, but expectations for this season should be capped. Remember, Gruden has a 10 year contract. Most of his moves will correspond to his tenure, so he’ll be thinking long term future with everything right now.
He just didn’t see a way to build a great defense by paying Khalil Mack $90 million guaranteed along with Derek Carr‘s $70 million guaranteed. There hasn’t even been a team who has signed insane contracts with their quarterback and a defensive player. The Raiders would have been the first to do so with Mack and Carr.
This is why the Chicago Bears and the Los Angeles Rams need to win now. Both paid a defensive star to a mountain of money only because their quarterbacks are on rookie deals. Their situations were perfect to dump money on those players, however if I were to blame any contract that stalled Mack’s it would be Gabe Jackson.
Who would you rather let walk: Khalil Mack or Gabe Jackson? Easy pick here. Jackson’s five year $55 million extension would’ve been better served retaining Khalil Mack. The Raiders could have let Jackson walk and that money would’ve made resigning Mack a lot more flexible. Sure, the team loses a pro-bowl guard, but Khalil Mack is a hall of fame pass rusher.
There’s no debate who’s worth to the team is more significant.
The question as to whether or not the Raider’s had the cash to pay Mack is unclear, but everything points to Gruden simply not wanting to pay Mack. I guess the Raiders stole this idea from their roommates the Oakland Athletics.
Trading away your best player so you don’t have to pay them is their staple. Whether you like it or not, Gruden’s move makes sense. Let’s say the Raiders kept Mack and the defense was still giving up 24+ points a game, then we’d all be blaming the lack of talent around Mack. Regardless of the move or lack of moves, there was always going to be dissatisfaction.
This trade now allows the team to elevate the talent that was around him.
Now don’t get it twisted, I’m not in agreement of the trade, especially the handling of it. The trade was a move for the future, but the handling of it was done with much impatience. What was the need to trade him away so quickly when they could’ve fielded better offers or waited him out? This is the problem with coaches who have general manager power.
They make rational and impatient decisions like this. It’s this very impatient trade that has seen some fans abandon ship and who can blame them? Despite showing impatience in this trade, Gruden showed that his logic is sound. You just hope that he can execute that logic more efficiently without the quick trigger.