Oakland Raiders: Looking at the pros and cons of dealing Khalil Mack

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 04: Khalil Mack
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 04: Khalil Mack /
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Oakland Raiders
OAKLAND, CA – SEPTEMBER 13: Khalil Mack #52 of the Oakland Raiders looks on during the second half of their NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals at O.co Coliseum on September 13, 2015 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

Pro: Money and Flexibility

All summer, we had been operating under the assumption that Von Miller‘s deal with Denver (six-years, $114 million, $70 million guaranteed) was the baseline for a new deal to get done for Mack.

As the months dragged on with no progress though, the talks between defensive star Aaron Donald and the Rams also dragged on – and then started to heat up. As those talks progressed, we got the sense that it was going to be an earth-shattering deal.

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And it was – six years, $134 million, with $87 million in guaranteed money – an annual salary of $22 million.

Given that the team was hesitating to eclipse Miller’s $19 million in annual salary, as well as the guaranteed cash, you had to know they’d balk at the new, much higher deal Donald just inked. In fact, we think we heard that somewhere before…

Anyway, it’s understandable that Gruden and McKenzie might hesitate to commit almost a full quarter of the team’s salary cap to just two players in Mack and quarterback Derek Carr – and given the rate quarterbacks are getting paid these days, Carr’s contract suddenly looks like a deal.

Gruden is obviously of the mindset that you can’t overcommit too much money to too few players when you’re trying to construct a competitive roster. You have to have the money to pay guys who can play, and play well.

And with a number of the free agents he brought in this offseason who, if they pan out the way the team hopes – like, say, cornerback Rashaan Melvin – those guys will need to be paid. Throwing that much money at just two players, limits your flexibility to spend to shore up other problem areas.

By trading Mack, the team will save roughly $22 or $23 million a season they can use to construct a competitive roster.

It’s a cold, calculated business-only decision, but it all comes down to having the flexibility to construct a competitive roster.