That turn came in the form of a trade on Saturday that would send Mack to the Chicago Bears, and it was not surprising that Irvin was a bit shocked by the news.
These things do happen in the NFL. The Raiders decided, per McKenzie via Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review Journal, to try and target the team most likely to give them a high pick, or the team most likely to give them the highest pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. The victor of this deal likely comes down to just how good the Bears become, and how good Mack remains. From that perspective, it was a good decision. Suddenly, it's conceivable that the Bears could be in the playoff mix in the NFC.
To assess this, I first looked at where a team like the Bears might be picking.
Mack's football life changed at warp speed.
Mack should have a transformative effect on those around him, as he'll command attention in a manner that allows the likes of Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman and Leonard Floyd to have more freedom to operate. So who might those teams be?
So, you are trading about a 50/50 chance of having a pro bowler as a pass rusher (assuming you invested both picks in that position) and about $8.5 million spent, for about a 80% chance of having a star and around $22 million.
Like the Vikings did with Allen, the Bears are getting Mack at the height of his powers.
This is one of the worst moves the Raiders could have made. He also suffered a right shoulder injury in Buffalo's second preseason game against Cleveland, which hindered his pursuit of the starting job. And they're loaded with cap space, too, making them an obvious landing spot for Mack. The Bears, desperate to return to the postseason for the first time since 2010, have tried in recent years to sign older players (Antrel Rolle, Eddie Royal, Allen, etc.) to plug holes, only to see that philosophy backfire.
The 49ers got heavily involved in the chatter as well, GM John Lynch confirmed to the San Jose Mercury-News, going after Mack "aggressively". "The guy is a spectacular player", Lynch said. "So we're going to figure it out". Somebody else landed him.
Headed into 2018, we knew that the wide receiver group would be one of the deepest groups on the team, so props to Hatcher for fighting his way onto the roster.
Reports surfaced over the summer that the Raiders and Mack hadn't even spoken and it was about that time that the Mack trade rumors started gaining steam.
Despite holding out all offseason from the Raiders' facility, Mack said he thinks he'll play Week 1 for the Bears. Those people weren't wrong!
After Donald signed, the Raiders apparently were much more willing to consider offers, and they got the "crazy offer" they wanted. The deal will reportedly cost the Bears at least two first round picks, not to mention a massive contract for Mack on top of it. A team whose defense was already highly suspect is now without their best player, not only on that side of the ball, but overall.
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