The Los Angeles Rams gave their star defensive player, Aaron Donald, a massive contract extension Friday. The Raiders are going to have to do likewise with holdout defensive end Khalil Mack or else trade away their top player.
Mack isn’t going to play out the final year of his contract at $13.846 million, according to a league source. That same source said that the prospect of Mack rejoining the Raiders without a new contract is “laughable.”
Mack wouldn’t even return if the Raiders offered to up his current salary, the source said. He wants to be paid what he feels he is worth, period.
That leaves the Raiders with three clear-cut options: One, give Mack a long-term extension that pays him at least as much as the Rams agreed to pay Donald — six years, $135 million, with $87 million guaranteed, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter; two, trade Mack to one of the league’s 31 other teams; or, three, do nothing and see if Mack gets antsy and returns, or pick up the issue after the season.
Mack, who was spotted at an airport recently, is back in New York, a team source said. He has not commented publicly on his situation at all. Same goes for his agent, Joel Segal.
For the Raiders’ part, general manager Reggie McKenzie and head coach Jon Gruden have said many times how much they want Mack back in a Raiders uniform. But, Mack currently does not have an offer to consider and the two sides haven’t spoken in a long time.
There remains a chasm between the two sides and the words from McKenzie and Gruden are in stark contrast to their actions related to getting Mack back.
Donald is expected to be available for the Rams regular-season opener, against the Raiders, on Sept. 10. That isn’t going to go over well if he plays and Mack still isn’t with the Raiders. It would look even worse if Donald plays a key role in the Rams beating the Raiders or there’s a sense that Mack’s presence might have been the difference.
There’s still time, but it’s running out. At least the Raiders know how much Donald is being paid and that their options are crystal clear.