Raiders trade rumors: Las Vegas tried to reacquire Khalil Mack from Bears during 2021 offseason

It looks like the Raiders have seller’s remorse. They apparently tried to trade for Khalil Mack during the 2021 offseason after originally dealing him to the Bears in 2018.

As Vic Tafur of The Athletic reports, the Raiders made a phone call to the Bears about Mack before they signed Yannick Ngakoue in free agency. Why? As Tafur detailed, it was all about the money.

The Bears needed to make a move to create salary-cap space, so the Raiders tried to swoop in to get Mack. They were rebuffed.

The Bears had significant salary-cap issues — which forced them to release All-Pro cornerback Kyle Fuller and restructure several contracts — and the Raiders thought it was worth a shot. The Bears were not interested, sources said, and the Raiders went ahead and signed Ngakoue to a two-year, $26 million contract. 

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Las Vegas’ desire to bring Mack back may surprise some, but coach Jon Gruden has always noted that the Raiders didn’t want to trade Mack. The team just felt it had to before the 2018 season because Mack was holding out.

“We wanted to sign Mack, OK? We didn’t want to trade him,” Gruden said before the Bears-Raiders game in 2019. “I wish him the best. I’m not rehashing all the drama. We wanted to have him. We couldn’t make it happen and we were able to get a couple draft picks.”

Certainly, it makes sense that the Raiders would still have an interest in Mack. They have struggled to replace him and have ranked at or near the bottom of the league in sacks on a yearly basis as a result. That’s part of why they signed Ngakoue.

Meanwhile, Mack has totaled 30 sacks during that three-year span, and his 12.5 sacks in 2018 were nearly as many as the Raiders had as a team.

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Khalil Mack trade details

Mack was traded along to the Bears along with two draft picks in exchange for four draft picks, including two first-round selections. In all, the trade involved six draft picks.

Bears receive:

  • Khalil Mack
  • 2020 second-round pick (Cole Kmet)
  • 2020 seventh-round pick (Arlington Hambright)

Raiders receive:

  • 2019 first-round pick (Josh Jacobs)
  • 2019 sixth-round pick (Blessuan Austin)*
  • 2020 first-round pick (Damon Arnette)
  • 2020 third-round pick (Bryan Edwards)
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* The Raiders traded the sixth-round pick that became Blessuan Austin to the Jets. They used the draft capital acquired in the trade with the Jets to make several more trades.

Needless to say, the Bears got the better end of this deal. Mack was an All-Pro in his first season with Chicago and has made three Pro Bowls with the Bears.

Meanwhile, the Raiders got a solid starting running back in Jacobs, who has averaged 1,310 scrimmage yards and 9.5 touchdowns per year his first two seasons, but Arnette and Edwards haven’t done much yet. And none of the players have made as great an impact as Mack.

There’s still time for the young players to progress, but it certainly seems like the Raiders have good reason to regret the Mack trade.