The Oakland Raiders and Jon Gruden were questioned quite a bit when they decided to trade Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears. While they did receive two first-round picks in the deal, it’s not easy to find elite pass-rushing talent. It also didn’t help that Mack was close to unstoppable in his first year in Chicago. Oakland had absolutely no pass rush in 2018 and Mack almost accumulated as many sacks as the Raiders did singlehandedly.
However, the narrative is starting to shift. The Raiders offensive line dominated Mack in London during Week 5 and he hasn’t looked the same. He’s only notched two sacks in the five games since. Diving into the stats, it’s starting to look like the Raiders made the right call by dealing Mack to Chicago.
Raiders & Bears Have the Same Amount of Sacks
Just last season, the Raiders finished with only 13 sacks, which was good for last in the NFL. Through 10 games this season, the defense has accumulated 25 sacks. How many sacks have the Bears gotten? 25. In 2018, Chicago was tied for third-most in the NFL with 50. Now they are tied at 15th with Oakland. Considering how much money the Bears have invested on the defensive line, that’s a shocking turn of events.
To make things even more shocking, the Raiders have two players who have notched more sacks than Mack. Veteran journeyman Benson Mayowa has seven sacks and rookie fourth-round pick Maxx Crosby has 6.5. Mack has only taken the quarterback down 5.5 times. Now, it’s fair to point out that Mack is getting a lot more attention from offenses than Crosby or Mayowa, but that’s always been the case. Mack was the only pass-rushing threat the Raiders had for almost his entire tenure in Oakland and he was still unstoppable. The fact that he didn’t put up a single stat against a mediocre Los Angeles Rams offensive line on Sunday is even more concerning.
Even though he’s going through a bit of a slump, there’s no denying that Mack is still one of the best players in the NFL. However, considering what the Raiders and Bears got in return, it’s starting to look like Jon Gruden was on to something when he let Mack go. With the money Oakland saved from not paying Mack, they were able to land Trent Brown and sign Rodney Hudson and Darren Waller to extensions. That’s not even mentioning that draft picks they received.
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Josh Jacobs Is a Monster
With the first of the two first-round picks the Raiders received from Chicago for Mack, the team selected Josh Jacobs. Simply put, Jacobs has been one of the best running backs in football. It’s true that running backs have become somewhat expendable in today’s NFL, but there’s no denying that an elite one can change the dynamic of an offense. Jacobs has been elite and has already broken Raiders rookie franchise records. He is currently fourth in the NFL with 923 rushing yards. He has been an integral part of a Raider offense that looks completely different than it did a year ago.
The value of a pass rusher is much greater than that of a running back, but it can’t be forgotten that the Raiders still get another first-round pick from the Bears. If Chicago doesn’t turn things around, it’s going to be a top-10 pick heading to Jon Gruden and company. That means the Raiders could have more elite young talent on the way thanks to Mack. Add the fact that the Bears are in a quarterback crisis with no first-round pick and it’s clear which team is winning the trade.
In all fairness, it’s still going to take some time to officially declare a winner. Mack can still get back on track and win multiple Defensive Player of the Year Awards and the player the Raiders draft with Chicago’s pick in 2020 could be a bust. With that said, while there isn’t a winner yet, it’s hard to argue that Oakland isn’t winning.