Bears acquire Khalil Mack in blockbuster trade with Raiders
The Bears acquired Khalil Mack, the two-time All-Pro pass rusher, in a trade with the Raiders agreed upon Saturday morning, according to multiple national outlets.
ESPN reported the Raiders will receive the Bears’ first-round pick in 2019 and 2020, a third-round pick in 2020 and a sixth-round pick in 2019.
Chicago also gets a second-round pick in 2020 and a conditional fifth-round pick in 2020.
Mack, 27, is regarded as one of the top five defensive players in the NFL. Adding the 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year helps legitimize the Bears’ hopes of ending their four-year stay in last place in the NFC North, a span that has included at least 10 losses each season.
Mack adds star power and a game-changing element to a Bears defense that has not had a Pro Bowl representative since Tim Jennings in 2013. The Bears ranked 10th in total defense last season despite not having a single player who has even been to the Pro Bowl.
In the short term, Mack’s presence allays concerns about the Bears’ depth at outside linebacker and Leonard Floyd’s broken right hand, which will require him to wear a club to start the season.
Mack has never missed a game in his four NFL seasons, over which he has averaged 10.1 sacks per year. He held out of the preseason, seeking a new contract from the Raiders. Now the Bears are expected to sign him to a huge contract commensurate with the one defensive tackle Aaron Donald signed with the Rams on Friday.
The six-year, $135 million deal guarantees Donald $87 million, making him the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history. The Bears have the salary cap space to accommodate such a deal largely because quarterback Mitch Trubisky is only two seasons into his slotted rookie contract.
Mack is a well-rounded pass rusher known for a variety of moves and his ability to convert speed to power. He also was considered a Raiders team leader, another reason why the Bears have added him to their core.
He will balance the edge-rush threat, with Floyd on the opposite side. That will help coordinator Vic Fangio design more unpredictable rushes, as offenses will be forced to account for both former first-round edge rushers.
The blockbuster trade rocked the NFL on Saturday as teams worked toward the deadline to reduce their rosters to 53 players. Although neither team has announced the trade, its shock waves resonated.
Bears left tackle Charles Leno published on social media a video of himself dancing to Mark Morrison’s 1996 jam “Return of the Mack.”
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr tweeted: “No way,” and called the trade “the sucky part of the business,” while Raiders outside linebacker Bruce Irvin expressed his shock with profanity on Twitter.
Bears players are off this weekend and scheduled to return to Halas Hall on Monday.