The Chicago Bears needed pass rush help. They have landed one of the best in the NFL.
After the Bears traded for Oakland Raiders pass rusher Khalil Mack on Saturday, they promptly signed him to a six-year, $141 million contract extension, a source informed of the deal told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.
The deal, which is the richest ever for a defensive player, includes $90 million in guarantees with $60 million guaranteed at signing, per Rapoport. He'll receive $155 million over seven years.
In trading Mack to the Bears, the Raiders are getting first-round draft picks in 2019 and 2020, a third-rounder in 2020 and a sixth-rounder in 2019, Rapoport reported. In addition to Mack, the Bears also received a 2020 second-round pick and a conditional 2020 fifth-round selection from the Raiders, per Rapoport.
In addition to trading Mack, the Raiders acquired quarterback AJ McCarron in a trade with the Buffalo Bills and released signal callers Connor Cook and EJ Manuel. They also traded safety Shalom Luani to the Seattle Seahawks for a 2019 seventh-round pick.
Rumors heated up that Mack could be on the move after Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald signed his contract Friday. With the Raiders hesitant to match Donald's deal with Mack, trading him became an option if they received the right offer.
Chicago GM Ryan Pace was willing to pay the price to make Mack the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history, beating out Donald's one-day hold on the title.
Rapoport and NFL Network's Tom Pelissero previously reported the Raiders were seeking two first-round picks in exchange for Mack -- and Oakland got what it wanted.
Adding Mack is huge for Matt Nagy's team. The Bears' defense already had the potential to be sneaky good this season under coordinator Vic Fangio. Chicago boasted an underrated back end led by corner Kyle Fuller and safety Eddie Jackson, a stout front with Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman and a very good linebacker corps with Danny Trevathan and sideline-to-sideline tackling maven in rookie Roquan Smith. The biggest question mark was who would rush the passer opposite Leonard Floyd.
We now have our answer.
Adding the former Defensive Player of the Year completely changes the makeup of the Bears' defense. Mack is a game-wrecking bulldozer who doesn't come out of the game. In four years in Oakland, Mack compiled 40.5 sacks and 231 tackles while missing a mere 44 passing snaps.
The Bears spent most of the offseason focusing on improving the offense. Pace brought in Nagy, added weapons around quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and Trey Burton. Now Pace went all in adding Mack.
The price to acquire and retain Mack was extremely high for the Bears. The truth, however, is that generational pass rushers almost never become available in their prime.
In his first huge move since returning to coaching, Jon Gruden shipped out his team's best player. NFL Network's Michael Silver reported Friday night that while Raiders owner Mark Davis was not excited about the idea of trading Mack, Gruden was open to moving on.
Gruden downplayed the importance of Mack the entire offseason, at one point noting Oakland's D was poor with the pass rusher last season. Gruden's logic, whether you agree with it or not, is that the Raiders can take the savings from trading Mack to add multiple players down the road.
Trading a player of Mack's capability does not make Oakland better today. With a 10-year, $100 million contract, Gruden, however, is playing the long game. Adding two first-round picks and avoiding salary-cap hell could set the Raiders on solid foundation years ahead. The theory only works if Oakland hits on those draft picks and signs good players. We know Mack is a great player. Draft picks and cap space can be fool's gold.
Time will tell if the Raiders made the right move trading a game-changing player at one of the most important positions in football for a future treasure trove.
One thing is certain Saturday morning: AFC West quarterbacks are popping champagne, and NFC North signal-callers are tossing their phones into the lake.