By Matt Ferris
On Sept. 2, the Oakland Raiders and the Chicago Bears made headlines by agreeing to a trade that would send one of the best players in the NFL, Khalil Mack, to Chicago.
Mack, who was scheduled to become a free agent at the end of 2018, was in the middle of a holdout with the Raiders, and as of Sept. 2, had yet to step foot in the Raiders’ facilities.
Oakland made the very difficult decision to trade who could be the best defensive player in the team’s history after hearing Mack wanted nothing to do with them and would not play for the team.
Oakland made the choice to cut ties with the star linebacker and get what they could in return for him.
And they got a lot in return for the former Defensive Player of the Year. The Bears sent the Raiders two first-round selections, one in 2019 and one in 2020, and a third-round pick in 2020 for Mack.
Once a member of the Bears, Chicago wasted no time resigning the star to a mega-contract.
The same day of the trade, the Bears made Mack the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history, by signing him to a six-year, $141 million contract extension with $90 million in guaranteed money.
Since Mack had been holding out on the Raiders and hadn’t shown up to any offseason activities, there were major questions regarding whether or not Mack would be ready to suit up in Week 1 for Chicago.
Mack practiced all week with the Bears, learned the defense and did indeed suit up Week 1 for the Bears’ opener against the Green Bay Packers. Mack did not disappoint.
In his Bears’ debut, Mack had three tackles, one sack, a forced fumble, one fumble recovery, an interception and a touchdown.
The Bears definitely got their money’s worth in this trade. The Bears already have a young, up-and-coming defense that was top 10 last season with names like Leonard Floyd and Roquan Smith. And now
to add Mack to the mix will significantly improve the Bears’ defense.
The trade jumped Chicago from 100-1 odds to 40-1 odds to win the Super Bowl.
However, the same can be said for the Raiders. Oakland also got their money’s worth in the trade.
Sure, Oakland traded their best player, but he was not going to play for the Raiders this season. The Raiders might as well have traded him and got something in return because he was going to leave come the offseason.
And that’s exactly what Oakland did. They managed to get not one, but two first-round picks from the Bears, a team that has drafted in the top five the past two seasons.
If the Raiders use these picks effectively, you could argue that Oakland in fact won this trade.