Finally Complete, Did the Raiders or Bears Come Away the Winner of the Khalil Mack Trade?

It’s been 602 days since the Raiders traded Khalil Mack and as of Saturday night we finally know the players involved in the trade.

Let’s take a look at the deal from every angle and figure out who got the better end of the trade… or if anyone got the better end of the trade.

Salary Cap

The overriding reason the Raiders offered for trading Mack was his massive cap number had he re-signed. Now that he’s in Chicago, Mack carries a cap number of more than $26 million in each of the next four years.

What players did the Raiders add with Mack’s $26.6 million 2020 cap number?

Pick your own players, but Cory Littleton, Carl Nassib, and Nick Kwiatkoski combine for a $26.5 million cap hit in 2020. The Raiders draft picks from the Bears (we’ll talk about them next) project to eat up around $7 million so the Raiders really gained about $19.5 million in 2020 cap room – still enough to add Littleton and about any other defensive free agent the Raiders signed in March.

Draft Picks

The fact that the Bears got any picks from the Raiders for Mack is still ridiculous. 602 days later, that aspect of the trade doesn’t make any more sense than it did at the time.

Bears picks from Raiders: TE Cole Kmet and G Arlington Hambright

Raiders picks from the Bears: RB Josh Jacobs, CB Damon Arnette, and WR Bryan Edwards.

We don’t know how the rookies will turn out, but Jacobs is already regarded as one of the better running backs in the league. Arnette was a first-round pick that most thought would be drafted a little later and Edwards was third-round pick that would have been drafted a little higher if not for injuries.

The Bears didn’t get a lot of cheers for the tight end and offensive guard they drafted, but the names Cole Kmet and Arlington Hambright do sound like one heck of a tennis tandem.

Free Football

Because of the timing of the trade, the Bears got a full year of Khalil Mack (at an MVP level) without giving up a pick. The Raiders got the NFL’s best offensive rookie in 2019 while Mack’s 8.5 sacks in 2019 was his lowest sack total since his rookie year.

Who won the trade?

It’s still too early to tell.

Mack is a game-wrecker, but the Bears have gone downhill in the last year after making the playoffs in 2018. The Raiders are on the upswing in terms of roster talent, but they closed out the 2019 season in a tailspin. That said, it was 7-win season for the Raiders that easily could have been a 10 win-season (stupid Jacksonville ref)… and probably would have been if Antonio Brown hadn’t fled from the reservation with tinfoil around his head.


Everyone is happy. Mack got a record deal, which is what he wanted most.

The Bears got a Hall of Fame defensive end that almost single-handedly dragged them to the playoffs in 2018. And the Raiders are quietly positioning themselves to soon make noise in the AFC West.

All things considered, the trade actually seems to have turned out relatively fair. Mack would still look good in silver and black, but Jacobs was the motor of the Raider offense last year. The Raiders rebuilt their defense with some of the money that would have gone to Mack and Maxx Crosby looks like a player that could eventually fill the void left by Mack. If and when that happens, don’t be surprised is Gruden holds onto his elite pass rusher this time around. It’s been a long couple of years for him to get here…

twitter: @raidersbeat


17 thoughts on “Finally Complete, Did the Raiders or Bears Come Away the Winner of the Khalil Mack Trade?

  1. Does it really matter? No winners NO losers, just enough money feed and clothe the entire population of Plumas county California for years.I hope the best for the two sides but maybe it’s time to enjoy the fruit gained by each and all I got to say bout that

  2. Here are the facts. The Raiders did offer k.Mack good money to stay with the team.
    Mack wanted more then ANY player is worth.
    If a player chews up so much cap that you can’t improve the team then ask yourself if that player is worth keeping. That person isn’t! The Raiders came out the clear winner in the trade. Did the bears go to the playoffs? Did the bears beat the Raiders? Did the bears win a super bowl? NO,NO and NO!!! Did the Raiders vastly improve there roster YES! Game over and we can finally put this bullshit subject to rest. JUST WIN BABY!!! GO RAIDERS!!!

    1. They lowballed him and they have traded away anybody that was a high pick before Gruden got there. The Raiders are still years away from being an impact team. Rookies coming in on defense usually make minimal impact the first 3 years.

    2. Well said Tony. I believe our team would have been in Super Bowl though, if not for whistle happy flag throwing refs and not just Carolina. Maybe we should be used to it by now, but it took it’s toll last season

  3. I agree. It ended up being a fair trade as of now. I also think the Raiders(my team), could’ve picked a better player this year. We could’ve traded back and still got the player they obviously wanted. So time will tell. Bravo!

  4. Raiders came out far ahead of the Bears in this trade. Mack did little when the teams met in England…ad the cap money saved, no contest.

  5. Cole Kmet really seems like an excellent pick. Notre Dame TEs tend to do well in the NFL, giving quality starters who are often better football players than they are fantasy producers. Since 2006, they’ve put basically every TE who has started into the NFL. Tyler Eifert, John Calrson, Kyle Rudolph, Troy Niklas, Anthony Fasano, Durham Smythe, Ben Koyack, and Alize Mack have all been on NFL rosters.

    Koyack has played in 48 games, starting 18, for Jacksonville. He was a 7th rounder.
    Smythe was a 4th rounder who started 14 games last year and has 31 games played in two seasons.
    Fasano notched 135 starts, 299 receptions, 3278 yards, and 36 TDs in 12 seasons.
    Niklas started 18 games over four seasons.
    Rudolph is a two-time Pro Bowler with 120 starts, 425 catches, 4154 yards, and 47 TDs.
    Carlson had 64 starts, 210 receptions, 2256 yards, and 15 TDs before concussions ended his carer.
    And Eifert was a Pro Bowler before injuries slowed him. He still has 36 starts, 185 grabs, 2152 yards, and 24 TDs.

    I think Kmet is better than most of those, and his combination of size, speed, and hands makes him a great weapon in today’s NFL. He reminds me the most of Carlson and Eifert among that group. I agree that the inclusion of the 2nd rounder was stupid, and I think Chicago made the most of that pick.

  6. I’m Bear’s 4 life, I feel Chicago is very comfortable with the trade and we embrace Mack. We have a lot of players in the NFL who get way more money than there worth. I’m almost sure neither team did to much better than the season before or after the trade. We’ve always had Good Defense. It’s the Unwillingness to get a great Young Quarterback out of college. God forbid he’s black. Even now we could have Cam Newton. For free instead we get Nick Foles. Not taking nothing from him but your honest choice? And then the biggest smack in the face was passing up Patrick Mahomes! And then on top of that trading up a spot still not taking Deshaun Watson going after Mitchell Trubisky. I give us a little credit for Foles but let’s be honest Chicago got a lot of offense problems and History problems. Vince Evans was our only black Quarterback In 1980 the first of his two seasons when he was a full time starter with the Bears, he posted the only perfect quarterback rating in Bears history when he completed 18 of 22 passes for 316 yards and three touchdowns in a 61-7 win over Green Bay.

  7. It’s a trade that unfortunately needed to happen, to give the Raiders a much needed jump start for their much needed rebuild, especially after giving Derek Carr the big contract and facing another one soon with Amari Cooper. It was a smart move, no matter how disappointed we Raider’s fans were at the time. I love Mack, and wish him the very best in Chicago. I do like what’s happening now with the Raiders, so perhaps both teams won. Time to move on!

  8. Sorry Raiders fans we lost out on this one Mack is a hall of famer , you got to get more than a RB for a HF and few pics, a great DE makes your hole defense great and you don’t win championships without a great defense, they should have franchise tag Mack and traded Derick Car this year to deal with salarie cap and get a Quarterback who could throw deep to Armari Copper , I’m out WWW

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