Trade season could get pretty interesting this offseason. There’s a real chance that Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson gets moved and there will very likely be some teams that are very interested. One such club, the Chicago Bears, need an upgrade at quarterback and adding Watson might make them Super Bowl contenders in 2022.
However, trading for the NFL’s leading passer will likely cost a massive haul of draft picks — three first-rounders, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, and likely much more, per Pro Football Network’s Benjamin Allbright.
Back in 2018, the Bears sent the Raiders two first-round picks and a third-round pick in exchange for superstar pass rusher Khalil Mack and a second-round pick. The trade hasn’t really worked out for the Raiders. In the three seasons since Mack was dealt, the silver and black have 66.0 sacks while the 2016 Defensive Player of the Year has 30.0 by himself.
With the draft picks the Raiders received in the trade, they’ve added Josh Jacobs, Damon Arnette and Bryan Edwards. While Jacobs, a 2021 Pro Bowl selection, is a stud at running back, Arnette and Edwards were wildly disappointing in their rookie seasons. Thus far, it’s fair to say that the Raiders made a mistake by trading Mack.
Luckily, it’s not impossible for them to correct their oversight. The Raiders are desperate for an elite pass rusher while the Bears are desperate for an above-average signal-caller. David Carr, NFL Network analyst and brother of quarterback Derek Carr, floated the idea that Las Vegas could get the band back together, and in exchange for Mack, the Raiders could give Chicago enough trade assets to land Watson.
I have a solution for the @HoustonTexans and a way out for @deshaunwatson ……
Watson to @ChicagoBears for two
1st Round Picks they receive from @Raiders for @FiftyDeuce #bandbacktogether#everybodywins#prodigalsonreturns
— David Carr (@DCarr8) January 13, 2021
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Is Mack Still Worth 2 First-Round Picks?
Mack has left a serious hole in the Raiders’ defense since he was traded. The three-time All-Pro looked like he would go down as a team legend but was sent away before he even got a second contract. If there’s any way that the Raiders could reunite with the superstar, they should.
That said, the two first-round picks Carr suggested are way too much. When the Raiders traded Mack, the Bears were able to construct their own deal for him. Plus, Chicago gained an additional second-round pick. If the deal Carr is calling for actually materialized, the Raiders would be taking a serious loss. Mack, 29, is older now and hasn’t had double digits sacks in either of the last two seasons. With all the money he’s making, the Raiders would be wise to avoid sending that much draft capital to the Bears.
What Would Be Mack’s Value to the Raiders?
The Raiders have worked really hard to try and build through the draft in recent years, but it hasn’t really worked. Outside of some strong picks in the 2019 NFL Draft and first-rounder Kolton Miller the year prior, the team has not done a good job picking players. It’s hard to imagine they’re going to find the pass rusher they so desperately need in the 2021 NFL Draft either.
With that in mind, if the Bears are open to a Mack trade, the Raiders should be willing to send a first and third-round pick for the six-time Pro Bowler. Moving off of Mack’s contract would give Chicago — currently one of 12 teams projected to be in the red should the NFL’s 2021 salary cap drop to $175 million — the money to afford Watson, plus some valuable draft assets. For Las Vegas, they’d gain back one of the best pass rushers in the NFL and fix Jon Gruden‘s biggest mistake since joining the team. It’s a win-win for both sides.