The Oakland Raiders did the previously unthinkable on Saturday morning, throwing in the towel on a Khalil Mack contract extension. Instead, they’ve opted to send their star pass-rusher to the Chicago Bears, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported.
As we await the exact final terms, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reveals the trade includes at least two first-round picks in exchange for Mack.
As Raiders fans absorb the news and attempt to move on from their best player, it’s time to lock in on the next man up and likely replacement for Mack. This is widely expected to be 2018 third-round draft pick Arden Key.
The Raiders traded up in the third round to land a player in Key who was unquestionably a first-round talent. After a disappointing 2017 season and off-field concerns, Key’s value took a hit ahead of the draft. During his final season at LSU, the athletic pass-rusher dealt with shoulder and knee injuries, playing in only eight games.
And then there were the off-field issues, as Key opted to step away from the team prior to the season and voluntarily enter himself into rehab for marijuana use. He returned to the Tigers overweight and didn’t look like the player who tallied an impressive 55 tackles, 12.5 for loss and 11 sacks in the season prior.
Beyond Key, the decision to move the 2016 Defensive Player of the Year could have an impact on the Raiders’ 53-man roster cuts. The team currently has a few young pass-rushers in Fadol Brown, Mario Edwards Jr., and free-agent signing Tank Carradine on the roster. It had previously been reported the Raiders were considering trading Edwards, although it’s unknown if that’s still the case.
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