Raiders coach Jon Gruden, in his biggest move since returning to the sideline from the broadcast booth, accommodated the 27-year-old Mack on Saturday. One thing that makes him one of the best tackles in the league is consistently facing some of the best pass-rushers that the NFL has to offer. More importantly, Mack's arrival shows that the Bears' defense will a force to be dealt with, and as a whole, that the Bears are ready to win RIGHT NOW!
McKenzie didn't have a ton of answers, but he confirmed the long-held belief that the Raiders and Mack never truly came close to signing a long-term deal.
The NFC North just got tougher.
Credit goes to Pace for pulling off the deal and also to chairman George McCaskey and president Ted Phillips for realizing the impact of Mack and what he could mean for the Bears. Not under an economic system in which a team can unilaterally extend a prized rookie's contract to five years and then utilize the franchise tag for a few seasons after that. He has 40.5 sacks in four National Football League seasons while starting all 64 games.
Mack had been a holdout during the preseason as he sought to become one of the NFL's highest-paid defenders. They replaced him with Nagy and gave Trubisky - the No. 2 overall draft pick a year ago - some new playmaking targets, most notably former Jacksonville Pro Bowl receiver Allen Robinson.
If Trubisky develops as the Bears hope, suddenly Chicago has young cornerstone players on both sides of the ball that can allow it to compete with Minnesota and Green Bay, both of which are set up for success over the next several years. "It was here at the end in the final hour that it kind of just hit and it hit hard and heavy". They are transitioning their team to Las Vegas in less than a year's time, and now they're not going to have their superstar defensive player going with them.
Part of the Mack trade will now include paying the All-Pro pass rusher, which is now Chicago's next task.
To assess this, I first looked at where a team like the Bears might be picking.
They do still have the cap room to add a player like that, though. The head coach apparently feels the $20 million or so per season that Mack would command would be better spent if it were spread around to multiple defensive players.
This is one of the worst moves the Raiders could have made.
Given how much money they gave Gruden, the Raiders have no choice but to keep trusting his process despite the apparent flaws of an operating system that hasn't been updated in years.