Star pass-rusher Khalil Mack’s holdout with the Raiders comes to a close with a trade to the Bears whose defense now is starting to look like a dangerous unit.
Khalil Mack has been in the midst of a holdout with the Raiders, not reporting to camp because he felt as though he was deserving of more than what they were giving him. He enters the last year of his rookie contract as one of the best edge defenders in all of football, but the Raiders were not treating him as such.
During each of the last three years, he has put up 10+ sacks, constantly demanding a double team. That double team meant that even if he wasn’t getting to the quarterback, he was making it easier for his teammates. Now, the Raiders don’t have that incredible force on their side. Adam Schefter has reported that the Raiders will be trading Mack to the Bears.
After reports that Mack could be traded began to pick up steam last night, the Bears emerged as a sleeper to win the sweepstakes. While many thought it could be the Browns or Jets previously, the Bears did not come up in conversation as much. However it makes a lot of sense.
The Bears have one of the best young secondary units in football. Kyle Fuller just received a big contract this offseason as a reward for his great play as of late. Adrian Amos and Eddie Jackson are great safeties and keep the secondary organized while acting as a last line of defense. Then, they have their first round pick Roquan Smith, an amazing selection who will be a tackling machine for them. Now, pairing Mack with Leonard Floyd who is beginning to emerge, gives the Bears a formidable pass rush, one even better than the unit that finished 8th in adjusted sack rate last year.
Having such an amazing secondary will allow Mack even more time to get after the quarterback so don’t be surprised if his sack totals rise this year. Having someone to make sure they hit the quarterback and reward the secondary for their hard work is something that the Bears needed. That’s why they were willing to pay a high price for Mack. While the compensation is unknown right now, his price tag was reported to be 2 first-round picks and a player. That is significant.
Add in the fact that he still has to be paid, and acquiring Mack was a big investment for the Bears. The Bears are expected to pay Khalil Mack the money he deserves. Per Pro Football Focus, Mack deserves a 90.2 grade, making him the 6th best edge defender in football. He is already that good after just three years, and could see better stats now with the Bears. That is why he has earned this money. Ian Rapoport has reported that he will soon have a long term deal, potentially for more money than Aaron Donald signed for yesterday.
The Bears have the 6th most cap space right now, so if they are going to make a splash now is the time. They already brought in Allen Robinson this offseason, and now they’ve got Khalil Mack. He can go hit the great quarterbacks in their division like Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, and Kirk Cousins. The Bears defense is now ready to be one of the best units in football, putting them in position to compete in the NFC North, now one of the most exciting divisions in football.