The Las Vegas Raiders made a bit of a shocking move back in 2018 when they were still based in Oakland.
Khalil Mack wanted a massive contract and Jon Gruden wouldn’t budge, so the elite linebacker was traded to the Chicago Bears.
In an obvious twist, the Raiders lacked a proper pass-rusher and still do to this day.
If only they had a homegrown player who was among the best in the league.
Well, it turns out the Raiders tried to right their wrong this offseason.
Ready for this wild story?
The Raiders haven’t had a defensive player grade over 78.0 since trading Mack in 2018 🤯 pic.twitter.com/qIb66CaVDT
— PFF (@PFF) August 23, 2021
That’s correct, the Raiders reportedly tried to swing a trade to get Mack back.
Trading him away in the first place was unwise and the Bears obviously said “no thanks” to getting rid of a player they were gifted because of the Raiders being stubborn.
A Larger Problem
It is easy to read this story and offer up a quick laugh toward the Raiders.
But fans are left wondering if Gruden and Mike Mayock are on the right page when it comes to improving the team.
Did they leak this story out to show they are trying to improve?
If so, fans don’t want to see the team backtracking on such a trade because it is too late now.
No goodwill will come from reminding fans that Mack was traded away and the result was the team desperately lacking a pass-rusher.
Interesting that the Raiders wanted Khalil Mack back.
Our pass rush probably becomes one of the worst in the league without Mack so I’m glad the Bears didn’t entertain that.
Waller and 2 first rounders or no deal 😂
— DaWindyCity Productions (@dwcprodz) August 23, 2021
It was almost comical to see the problem emerge and the coaching staff address it like they didn’t just have a star on the field.
But Gruden is in the midst of his 10-year deal and if ownership is committed to seeing it through, no change will come.
However, there is enough talent on the roster, including at quarterback with Derek Carr, to make a run at the postseason in 2021.
An Important Lesson
The fact the Bears were so eager to pay Mack should have shown the Raiders they were making a huge mistake.
That is a lesson for all teams in the NFL.
Star players cannot simply be replaced through the draft.
That is the whole gamble of the NFL Draft in the first place.
If a pick hits and the player is a star, teams should do what it takes to hold on.
The Raiders let egos get in the way and are now scrambling to add a 30-year-old Mack when they had him at the peak of his prime.
Fans can only shake their heads.