Khalil Mack will go down as one of the greatest Raiders ever due to his four-year stint with the team that saw him make the Pro Bowl three times and win Defensive Player of the Year. Unfortunately, his Raiders legacy is about to take a major hit. The star pass rusher was traded to the Los Angeles Chargers and will now be facing his former team twice a year.
The Raiders and Chargers hate each other. The former kept the latter out of the playoffs on a last-second field goal in 2021 and players from both sides take shots at each other. Needless to say, the Mack trade will only add fuel to the rivalry. Raiders legend Charles Woodson played with Mack in 2014 and 2015 when they were both on the team. He knows just how deep the Chargers hate runs. He reached out to Mack to see if his contract has a no-trade clause so that he could veto the deal.
It doesn’t appear that Mack has the power to veto the trade and there’s no reason he should. The Bears are in a rebuild with a new head coach and a young quarterback. He now gets to play for a team that has a lot of upside.
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Do Raiders Still Have Better Pass Rush Duo Than Chargers?
The new Chargers pass-rushing duo of Joey Bosa and Mack will be the talk of the NFL all offseason. The two have a combined 10 Pro Bowl selections and are some of the best power rushers in the league. However, the Raiders have a pretty good pass-rushing duo, as well. Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue combined for 18.0 sacks last season and led the NFL with 53 quarterback hits as a duo.
Last year, Bosa and Mack combined for 16.0 sacks and just 27 quarterback hits. Much of that was due to Mack missing 10 games to injury and should see his numbers increase when healthy. There’s no doubt that the Chargers have an elite pass rush duo now, but it’s unfair to sleep on Crosby and Ngakoue.
OL Upgrades Becoming More Important
Regardless of which team has the better pass-rushing duo, the Raiders need to upgrade the offensive line. The team surrendered 40 sacks last season, which was 22nd in the NFL. Things aren’t about to get any easier with Mack coming to the division. The Raiders have a lot of needs but finding a new starting right tackle is one of the biggest.
Left tackle Kolton Miller is stout and should continue to be the starter for a long time. Right tackle is a mess. Alex Leatherwood was drafted in the first round of last year’s draft to man the position but got moved to right guard after struggling mightily. Brandon Parker took over and played just as poorly. Perhaps new head coach Josh McDaniels believes that Leatherwood still has potential at right tackle but it’s more likely the Raiders attack that position in free agency or the draft.