No Mack No Sack
What LB Khalil Mack means to the Oakland Raiders and to your IDP league
Yes, Khalil Mack is slated to become a free agent after this season as he enters the fifth year of his rookie contract. He is scheduled to make $13.8 million in this upcoming season. Yes, if you consider yourselves a Raiders fan you should be nervous. Not only have the Raiders reported they are listening to trade offers for the superstar, Gruden himself came out and said the process is “grueling”. Gruden neglected to even meet with Khalil when he first took the head coach job in Oakland and only first spoke to Mack prior to the team meeting for training camp - to discuss the extension.
Gruden may be single-handedly pushing one of the best players the Raiders have literally ever drafted into the arms of another team. He has gone on record saying ”we weren’t very good on defense last year with Khalil.”He may feel that Mack is trying to strong arm the organization by asking for more guaranteed money than any other defender in the league. Furthermore, the “rumors” of a trade may have more traction than first reported. He visited with Lions this past week, although not much can really be made from this - it’s not what you want to see as a fan of the Black and Silver.
Mack has accrued 231 tackles, 40.5 sacks, 9 forced fumbles and even scored once since being drafted four years ago. Entering his fifth year as a pro he has already made three Pro Bowls, earned two first-team All-Pro selections, and was the NFL Defensive player of the year in 2016. But we all know that Mack is a top 3 Defensive player in the league, so why can’t the Raiders see that?
The Raiders as a team totaled 31.0 sacks in 2017. Khalil Mack had 10.5 of those sacks. Although the Raiders also have Bruce Irvin who compiled 8 sacks, they are severely lacking in the pass rush department. If the team had any sort of replacement in either talent or past production, shopping Mack would at least provide value back. They (or maybe just Gruden) fear overpaying Mack will hinder the ability to spend on other positional needs. At this point, the Raiders’ only hope of turning around the defense is to invest in the top 1% talent who is already rostered and develop an interior lineman. The Raiders have moved Irvin to the opposite side of Mack on the line in hopes of getting to the quarterback more consistently.
Yes, the Raiders need Mack more than any other player on their roster. The defense has been atrocious the last four years - not because of Mack - so the last thing the Raiders need is to shop their best player for picks and bodies. Mack is the cornerstone to making the Raiders win again.
So how does the holdout affect your IDP draft and seasons?
A player like Mack would typically go off IDP board early (top 12) and is currently ranked as the DE2 according to ESPN. He is a volume tackler on a terrible defensive team with a rare combination of speed and size. Mack can cover tight ends, zone over the slot off the left end, and he can rush right by the 300+ pound tackle for multiple sacks per contest. The Raiders have also changed the defense scheme back to 4-3 (so he can play defensive line). Even with all these positive moves for Mack on the field, he will still need to be under contract to produce. A holdout all but destroys his value in redraft. The dynasty outlook hasn’t changed significantly, since he will undoubtedly produce regardless of the team he is on. There just isn’t much value in a player, however, if he purposefully misses games.If Mack were to miss any real playing time Pro Bowler Bruce Irvin will have more opportunity to get to the prestigious 10 sack club. Rookie Maurice Hurst and preseason standout PJ Hall will receive more time in the trenches with make holding out. If Mack signs before the season he looks to be more productive than in years past which is an exciting prospect. Will you take that risk?