All The Debates About Khalil Mack’s Holdout: Maybe They Are All Right

Outside of a “white tiger” and a few other Jon Gruden one-liners, Khalil Mack’s holdout has mostly dominated the Raiders news feed for the past several months.

There have been stories, theories, rebuttals, and even a little mud-slinging among media reporting on Mack’s holdout. And the interesting dynamic, about the mainstream reports at least, is that most of the accounts aren’t all that different.

Remember when Mack was only holding out from voluntary workouts and there was nothing to see here, folks? Don’t make story where there isn’t one, right? Well, as it turns out, there wasn’t a big story at the time, but the wheels were spinning in the wrong direction. Voluntary sessions are sometimes a precursor to how players intend to approach mandatory sessions. It’s now been three weeks into training camp and another week in Alameda and Mack is nowhere to be found.

One of the first (maybe the first) to talk about the discontent between Mack and the Raiders was The Athletic’s John Middlekauff. This goes all the way back to July and some of Middlekauff’s media colleagues even accused him of creating an offseason storyline. Now 28 days (and counting) away from official team activities, some may not be focusing on the discontent, but everyone knows it’s there.

And what about the report that Jon Gruden hasn’t talked to Mack since he was hired as head coach? Yes, that story was shot down. It turns out Gruden actually reached Mack just after he was hired (presumably sometime in January?), and the consensus seems to be that they haven’t talked since. So yes, Gruden has talked to Mack since he became head coach, but only by a matter of days.

They’ve either talked within 8 months or 7 and a half. Pick which story to believe, but Gruden did say he has been reaching out since.

Are the Raiders talking to Mack’s representatives or not talking to Mack’s representatives? Some say they are talking. Some say they aren’t.

“I have talked to both sides this week,” Vic Tafur wrote yesterday in The Athletic. “There is ‘nothing new,’ and the progress has been glacial as they are apparently still far apart on guaranteed money. The Raiders made an offer in the spring, it wasn’t enough, and there has been very little volleying back and forth.”

If the sides aren’t “volleying back and forth” with ideas, then what exactly are they talking about? Apparently nothing.

“Hey Segal, this still your number?”


“You still looking for $80M guaranteed?”


“Ok. BRB.”

Then there was the story this week that Mack might take the holdout into the regular season. If you understand how holdouts operate, you know it’s important that both sides show a willingness to take the standoff to the next level. A report on Monday indicated that the Raiders believe Mack will show up for the regular season opener, with or without a new contract. It was no coincidence that a report popped up only hours later suggesting that Mack might be willing to sit out regular season games.

But there is good news – or at least good reason for hope.

As aggravated as both sides may be, so far it isn’t hostile. There are a lot of cool heads involved in the negotiations. Mack is understandably upset that the team is so far unwilling to guarantee him a record-breaking deal and the Raiders desperately want the league’s best defensive player back with the team.

In the end, Mack will more than likely sign a long term deal with the Raiders and most everyone who has reported on the situation (at least those mentioned above) will soon look back and say, “Yup, my sources on Mack were spot on.”

Except for the regular season holdout idea. The threat makes sense, but the deed does not.

For what it’s worth, the majority on Twitter still believe it’s the Raiders responsibility to get their best player back with the team.

twitter: @raidersbeat


3 thoughts on “All The Debates About Khalil Mack’s Holdout: Maybe They Are All Right

  1. How dare people blame the Raiders for Mack sitting out regular season games when he is legally obligated to play n to b there now. Every1 is 4getting that there exists a legal n binding agreement in place that Mack executed n he is failing to adhere to terms. Mack is employed by the Oakland Raiders n as such while employed he has fiduciary obligation to perform as other employees do. If Mack wishes to honor his obligations n then upon completion of his agreement seek other employees or renegotiate new terms with current employer than that’s what he should do but to hold employer hostage is not appropriate or honorable. He is displaying poor characteristic traits n what other players have done in past or may do is no excuse for his behavior so miss me with this is how it’s done b’s because it’s wrong n it doesn’t matter how employers act it’s all about how Mack deals with things; his integrity; his honor; n how he wishes to carry himself enabling himself to look into mirror n respect the person staring back at him.

    1. I think you’re going too far calling Mack’s honour and integrity into question. The NFL brings this upon themselves with how they handle their business. You talk about contracts but teams find ways to screw players on their contract, cut them or trade them etc at a moments notice. This is where things like guaranteed money come into play.

      You say Mack has a contract to live up to, well from his point of view what if he does play it out without a new deal. So next year the Raiders could franchise tag him? And then again the next year. And within in those 3 years what if there’s any loss of production or significant injury? Then his value goes down, not to mention he would be how much older which also makes long term deals harder to gain.

      Mack is just looking out for himself as he should be and not leaving it to chance. I don’t fault either side but I think the Raiders should be able to take the position of paying their best player and moving on. He deserves a new deal and shouldn’t be made out to be a bad guy for trying to get one

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