Oakland Raiders fans should not expect to see Khalil Mack on the field when the team takes on the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football in Week 1. According to a report from Yahoo! Sports' Charles Robinson, Mack's contract holdout is likely to result in the All-Pro pass rusher missing games.
As of Monday evening, sources said both sides remained entrenched in the same positions that have contributed to a stalemate in negotiations since February: with the Raiders declining to offer Mack a contract extension and with Mack seeking a long-term deal that would make him the NFL's highest paid defensive player. One source said there have been no meaningful talks between the two sides in months and that the situation has devolved to a deadlocked "pay him or trade him" conversation.
Robinson's report aligns with thefrom last week. JLC reported that, barring a significant change in the Raiders' stance, Mack would not be on the field at the start of the regular season.
No one can guarantee what the end game in the stalemate between Khalil Mack and the Oakland Raiders will be. Even the particulars themselves -- the quarterback-smothering defensive end, his agent and Raiders brass (coach Jon Gruden, general manager Reggie McKenzie, owner Mark Davis) -- could not say with any certainty how and when this holdout is resolved.
The most salient questions -- when might Mack report; how much would he earn in 2018 and beyond; where would he play if a trade becomes viable -- are impossible to answer with the sides at a loggerheads and not even discussing the prospect of a fair-market contract extension. But allow me to promise you this much: Barring the Raiders suddenly reversing course and engaging on a legitimate contract, there is no way this All-Pro will be with the team when the regular season begins. It's almost impossible for any player to sit out an entire season -- as contracts would toll to the ensuing season if he's not present by Week 10 -- but that leaves a wide swath of time in between.
Mack is headed into the fifth-year option season on his rookie contract and has been angling for an extension. He has stayed away from the team throughout the offseason and apparently does not plan to report until he gets a new contract that provides him some long-term security and pays him at a level that is commensurate with his on-field impact.
The Raiders, for their part, have yet to seriously engage Mack at a level to which he's comfortable, with it even being reported late last month that $100 million head coach Jon Gruden Aaron Donald's concurrent holdout is not a stumbling point for either the Raiders or Mack as of now. "Sources have said the two sides have failed to come to a deal because they are approaching it from fundamentally different leverage points, not because either is waiting to see what a new Donald contract will look like," he wrote.since taking the job in Oakland. Robinson reported that
It was reported earlier in the week by Pro Football Talk that several teams have reached out to the Raiders to engage them in trade discussions, and Robinson additionally noted that the Raiders are not turning teams away. It is not at all difficult to imagine Mack fetching a large offer on the trade market, given his status as one of the NFL's best pass rushers and the fact that he is only 27 years old. It's somewhat difficult to understand why the Raiders don't want to pay their best player, but stranger things have happened in the NFL.