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Raiders deal away Mack, gut-punch Oakland fans

The Raiders gave Oakland fans another reason to feel jaded when they agreed to trade superstar Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears on Saturday morning, as first reported by ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

According to Schefter, the Raiders will get first and sixth-round picks in 2019 and first and third-round picks in 2020 in exchange for Mack, a 2020 second-round pick and a conditional 2020 fifth-round pick.

All of this transpired just a day after Mack’s 2014 draft contemporary Aaron Donald ended a drawn-out contract dispute with the Los Angeles Rams, which netted him a record six-year, $135 million deal ($87 million guaranteed).

Mack and Donald have had very similar starts to their careers. Both players became superstars before their rookie deals ended. Mack is a three-time Pro Bowler, two-time All-Pro and was the 2016 AP Defensive Player of the Year. Donald has one more Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection than Mack, and he was named AP Defensive Player of the Year in 2017. Mack has played in every game during his four years in the league while Donald has missed just two.

Even though Donald’s contract negotiation was arduous, to put it lightly, there was never strong indication from the Rams that they would consider trading him. They eventually gave into Donald’s asking price, making him the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history.

Mack’s contract situation was basically the complete opposite. It started recently and soured quickly. Whereas Donald has held out of training camp and mandatory workouts before, this offseason is the first time Mack has done so.

Choosing to trade a top-5, 27-year-old defensive star —  for wanting a contract that matches his accomplishments and remaining ability —  is an odd decision. Especially when he hasn’t been a problem on or off the field. The Rams may have taken longer than necessary to lock down Donald, but they had every intention of doing so.

The Mack trade appears to be one of two things — either the Gruden regime saw Mack in a negative light due to his holdout, or the dollar amount of Donald’s deal yesterday assured them that they wouldn’t or couldn’t pay Mack a similar figure that he would definitely ask for.

Mack’s now-former teammate Bruce Irvin tweeted shortly after Donald’s contract news broke:

Less than 24 hours later Irvin tweeted:

That basically sums up the consensus outlook on the trade.

Also on an active Saturday, the Raiders agreed to acquire backup QB AJ McCarron from the Buffalo Bills for a future fifth-round pick, according to Ian Rapaport and Schefter. The trade made expendable third-year backup QB Connor Cook, who Schefter reported the Raiders have released.

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