For much of the preseason, the Green Bay Packers have been seen as front runners to land star defensive end Khalil Mack. The fifth year star and 2016 defensive player of the year wants a new deal, and the Oakland Raiders have been resistant to giving it to him. Instead, they have determined that the best plan for their franchise is to trade him away.
And as of Saturday morning, it appears that Mack is indeed headed to the NFC North, but not to the Packers. Instead, ESPN's Adam Schefter has reported that the Bears have an agreement in place to acquire Mack.
The Bears appeared to be on an upward trajectory this year, thanks in part to a largely new coaching staff including head coach Matt Nagy. The team also made some significant moves in free agency, particularly on offense. However, the team retained defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and drafted linebacker Roquan Smith for the middle of the D. Adding Mack would give the Bears a huge upgrade in their pass rush, as third year linebacker Leonard Floyd has yet to fully break out.
Compensation for the Raiders has not yet been reported, but the word is that they are still seeking two first round draft picks. The Packers are the only team to hold two picks in the first round in 2019, but a package of a potentially higher pick in each of the next two years may have been more appealing.
UPDATE: NFL Network's Ian Rapoport has reported that the Bears are indeed sending two first round draft picks to Oakland. However, there may be a player going to the Raiders as well.
The Packers reportedly made an appealing offer to the Raiders, however. According to NFL Network’s Benjamin Allbright, they were very much in the mix:
Other teams with strong offers for Mack were GB, Cle and Buff.— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) September 1, 2018
It is entirely possible that the Raiders simply preferred the Bears’ trade package to the one offered by Packers GM Brian Gutekunst. In that case, Gutekunst can hardly be faulted — clearly he was trying to acquire a game-changing player and was in serious consideration.