One of Jon Gruden’s first orders of business upon joining the Raiders organization in 2018 was dealing disgruntled linebacker Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears in a trade that netted Oakland four draft picks, including first round picks in 2019 and 2020.
Apparently, the Raiders recently considered a reunion with the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year, inquiring about Mack’s availability earlier this offseason.
Despite their cap issues at the time (prompting the release of Pro Bowler Kyle Fuller back in March), according to beat reporter Vic Tafur of The Athletic, the Bears never seriously considered trading Mack back to the team that drafted him fifth overall in the 2014 NFL Draft.
The Raiders, instead, pivoted to former Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue, luring the free agent to Las Vegas on a two-year, $26-million contract.
Returning to his old team likely would have been awkward for Mack, who didn’t depart Oakland on the greatest terms, holding out from training camp in 2018 amid a highly-publicized contract dispute. Mack would later sign a six-year, $141 million extension with the Bears, becoming the league’s highest-paid defensive player.
Lightly recruited out of high school, the University at Buffalo alum achieved All-Pro status last year, pacing the Bears in sacks (nine), forced fumbles (three) and fumble recoveries (two).
The 6-foot-3 linebacker ranks 12th among active NFLers in career sacks (70.5). Mack, who garnered his sixth Pro Bowl invite in 2020, is signed through 2024, which would be his age-33 season.