Why is Khalil Mack holding out on Raiders?

Oakland Raiders

The Oakland Raiders began their offseason activities on Monday, and star pass-rusher Khalil Mack wasn’t there. Here’s a full breakdown on the situation.

In January, Jon Gruden was named as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders, signing a 10-year, $100 million deal. Since then, the team has been making questionable moves, inking older veterans in Doug Martin, Jordy Nelson, Keith Smith, Derek Carrier and Leon Hall, while jettisoning Marquette King, Cordarrelle Patterson and Michael Crabtree.

Now, there’s another wrinkle to this offseason, with Khalil Mack holding out from voluntary OTAs. Mack, 27, is a two-time All-Pro, a three-time Pro Bowler and was the 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Now on the final year of his rookie contract, the former fifth-overall selection wants to be paid as his resumé suggests he should be … as an elite.

However, there doesn’t appear to be anything imminent on the horizon in terms of an extension between Mack and Oakland. The Raiders don’t have a litany of looming contracts facing them, with only Marshawn Lynch, Mario Edwards, Jared Cook and Reggie Nelson being impact players who need a new deal before 2019.

General manager Reggie McKenzie should be able to focus his attention on Mack, who will likely command a deal similar to what Von Miller received from the Denver Broncos in 2016. Miller signed a six-year, $114 million pact with $70 million guaranteed, a record for linebackers. Mack will factor in his importance to the team, along with accolades and a rising cap to aim for $120 million over that term, with approximately $75 million in guarantees.

This is also a rare instance where both sides have leverage. Oakland can hold the franchise tag over Mack, conceivably using it for the next two years if need be. Meanwhile, Mack’s camp knows his incredibly importance to the defense, a unit which doesn’t have another star player on it.

Ultimately, Mack is doing the right thing by not showing up. Should he incur a freak injury, his value would plummet. The Raiders likely don’t expect to show up until training camp, and should he miss time there, then the situation becomes more interesting.

Look for a deal to eventually get done between the two sides, but it could be quite some time before pen meets paper.

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