Don’t it always seem to go, you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone? It appears the Las Vegas Raiders just got a stern reminder of this truth, and it didn’t come courtesy of legendary guitarist Joni Mitchell. It came by way of their inability to consistently get after the opposing quarterback, which led them right back to a player they swore they were better off without: Khalil Mack. After trading away the All-Pro pass rusher in 2018 — who was and remains arguably the best in the league on any given week — the Raiders reportedly circled back with roses and a box of chocolates, but were turned away at the door by the Chicago Bears.
In a wild plot twist, the Raiders reportedly reached out to the Bears this offseason in an attempt to get Mack back in the black and silver, per Vic Tafur of The Athletic, three years after grabbing two first-round picks from the Bears to ship him out of town (against every modicum of football logic and conventional wisdom).
In his three seasons in Chicago, Mack has already amassed 30 sacks, 14 forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries, 106 combined tackles, two interceptions and 11 passes defensed — en route to another All-Pro honor and now owns six Pro Bowl nods. This was done without a definitive complement to prevent double (and sometimes triple) teams, by the way. Wisely, the Bears declined [read: laughed] the Raiders attempt to reconcile with Mack.
The Raiders went on to sign Yannick Ngakoue in free agency.
The cap penalty alone would’ve been enough for the Bears to send the Raiders straight to voicemail, considering Chicago would’ve had to eat more than $20 million for the right to lose their best defender. And for Mack’s part, it’s highly unlikely he would’ve ever again suited up for the Raiders even if the Bears had a moment of insanity and sent him back, considering how toxic the split was between the two sides in 2018. The world will never know, however, because Matt Nagy knows what he has in Mack.
It’s too bad for the Raiders that Gruden didn’t.
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