Raiders head coach Jon Gruden identified holdout defensive end Khalil Mack as his team’s “best player” Wednesday, at about the time that RaidersSnakePit learned that he and the Raiders aren’t making any attempt to give Mack the long-term extension he covets.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the two sides still weren’t communicating in any fashion and there isn’t even an offer for Mack to consider, either.
So, the Napa portion of the Raiders training camp is going to end Thursday the same way it started: with Mack nowhere to be seen and absolutely nothing being done to end the stalemate.
“I don’t think it’s been a distraction,” Gruden said of Mack’s absence. “It’s, obviously, been disappointing. You want to have your best player here. This guy is really a great guy, too. I’m disappointed we don’t have him here. (We’re) going to try to get him here as soon as we can. In the time being, you’ve got to move on. You’ve got to get up and go to work.”
The Raiders and Mack are as far apart as ever, Gruden’s words notwithstanding.
As it stands, Mack is slated to earn $13.846 million on the fifth-year option of his rookie contract. Everyone agrees that Mack is worth more than that, given his stature as one of the game’s best, if not the best, defensive players.
If Mack is the Raiders best player, then it stands to reason that he should be paid accordingly. That would peg Mack for a salary that yields a tad more than the $25 million per season, and $70 million guaranteed, that quarterback Derek Carr is earning through 2022.
Typically, it makes sense to pay your quarterback more than any other player on the team. But, make no mistake, Mack has had a bigger impact on the Raiders than Carr the past four seasons and is worth whatever he can secure from the Raiders.
Owner Mark Davis, general manager Reggie McKenzie and Gruden have said repeatedly how much they want Mack to remain in a Raiders uniform and the need to get him signed to an extension as soon as possible. So far, it’s all just talk.
Davis and McKenzie didn’t hesitate when it came time to reward Carr and guard Gabe Jackson for their stellar play early in their Raiders careers. Gruden wasn’t here when those extensions took place, of course. But, he’s here now and he’s being paid to make all football decisions.
If Mack, indeed, is the Raiders best player, as Gruden said, then there’s no need to wait to see how much the Los Angeles Rams pay holdout defensive tackle Aaron Donald or fret over saving a few million dollars. You take care of your best players and don’t risk losing them.
To date, all Gruden and the Raiders have done is talk the talk. Wednesday was just another day of talking, just not between the two sides.