state of sports journalism ***An apology has been issued for this article. Read that here***The Khalil Mack holdout has been going on for months now. Mack did not report to mandatory minicamp Isaiah Johnson Jersey 2019 , voluntary minicamp, OTAs, training camp, any preseason games or the Raiders 4th of July barbecue. However, contracts take time, especially for someone like Mack who is arguably the best defensive player in football and certainly the best player in the AFC West.But for the last few weeks we’ve heard countless rumors about Khalil Mack being traded. Where did they come from? Do they have any validity?Let’s start with Ground Zero.There had been a few rumblings, mostly from New York area football blogs, that the Jets were looking to add an edge rusher, namely Khalil Mack. And then there was this article from Bleacher Report that said,The fact that this comes from the den of scum and villainy known as Bleacher Report should tell you all you need to know about its validity, not to mention the fact that the story is “an unnamed exec from an unnamed team has a feeling”. I had a feeling once, but it turned out I had too many burritos.And there was this:Okay first of all, who the fuck is Eric Galko? Nobody had ever heard of him or his little scouting company before this tweet made the rounds, but it provides scouting services and consulting. They’re not a news outlet. This was really where things started to get crazy. Every football blog in existence then went off the deep end speculating about how their team could get Khalil Mack. Possible suitors, if you believe that there are any, include the Packers, Bears, Jets, Bills, Pottsville Maroons, New York Yankees and CSKA Moscow.Three days ago, Yahoo! Sports came out with this article about the Mack trade saga. It includes the following passage:And much of this came after an August 21 report from Sports Illustrated that quoted Albert Breer, saying:Most recently, MMQB’s Albert Breer broke down the idea of a Mack trade and did so as bluntly as possible. According to Breer, inquiries about acquiring the 2016 Defensive Player of the year “have been quickly met with a no.”Breer’s insight on the situation goes beyond just the fact that the Raiders aren’t interested in moving Mack currently, though. He also lays out an interesting scenario for any potential suitor, which includes not only giving up a massive amount to acquire him but then the huge contract a team would have to lay out immediately after.And Ian Rappaport went on the Rich Eisen Show this week and made it very clear the Raiders are not interested in trading away Mack.Also this week, this little foray into seeing how the sausage is made in the wild Cheap Isaiah Johnson Jersey , wacky world of sports journalism officially became a joke:You see folks, ever since you, the consumer, stopped actually paying for sports journalism, it has become something completely degenerate and foul. Modern sports (and regular) journalism is ad-based, which means the more people who click on your page, the more money you make. The ad doesn’t care if what you wrote is true or not, it only wants more readers. And the best way to get readers is to tell them what their cognitive bias wants to read about. Happy lies sell far better than inconvenient truths. It’s known as clickbait, and I will have none of it.The bottom line here is that there’s been a ton of speculation, none of which is based on any sort of verifiable truth or reasonable conclusions from any evidence whatsoever, that teams are lining up to trade for Khalil Mack. There is no evidence of any kind from any source that the Raiders are interested in any way in trading Mack, and in fact trading for him and signing him to the contract he deserves would be so cost-prohibitive that there are few teams for whom such a move makes sense. But that doesn’t stop journalists with questionable motives from spreading a false narrative.UPDATE: In the hours since this article was posted, an article went up on NFL.com which completely encapsulates the issues the article speaks about.The headline reads, “Raiders want at least two first-round picks for Mack”.The actual story is... about something else. Seriously, read the headline and then read the actual story. And consider the fact that many people will just read the headline and not the story, and draw conclusions from that.Why the Khalil Mack trade is not the end of the world There’s no question that September 1 was one of the most heartbreaking days in Raider history. Losing Khalil Mack leaves a hole on the Raiders defense that cannot be filled, and a hole in the hearts of every Raider fan that will take time to heal.When something like this happens, many of us will have an immediate and visceral reaction. We’ll curse the front office that let this happen and lose faith in the team itself. As fans that is our right. But we should also take time to look at the facts of the situation and judge it from an objective standpoint.The facts are these: Khalil Mack did not report to training camp. Reggie McKenzie does not negotiate with holdouts, and Mack and his agent, Joel Segal, knew this very well. Aaron Donald signed a massive contract last week which would serve as a benchmark for Mack’s new deal. And still Mack did not come to Raider headquarters to work things out.Many teams inquired about trading for Mack, and to do so they would not only have to fork over massive amounts of draft capital but also be able to sign Mack to the extension he sought. “My whole thought process was to get Khalil (signed),” McKenzie said Saturday. “It was at the end, in the final hour, that it just hit. It hit hard and heavy. It was not a plan to trade him at all.”“There were some things that weren’t meshing between the two proposals,” McKenzie said. “That made it hard to go into details. We were trying to figure out ways to get it done, but it wasn’t going to look like what Khalil wanted. The bottom line is he couldn’t come in. By him not coming in, it showed him we probably have to see what in the world is going to happen if this continues.”Since it was not in the plan to trade Mack Derek Carrier Jersey , the Raiders put an extremely high price on obtaining Mack in trade. The Bears were willing to match this price. The last time a team paid two first-round picks for a player was when Jay Cutler was traded from Denver to these same Bears. According to Yahoo, McKenzie tried to hammer out a deal with Mack and Segal in February. McKenzie made an offer, and Segal countered. Whatever they countered with was well out of the realm of what McKenzie was comfortable with agreeing to. Talks since then didn’t happen very much, but what Mack was asking for likely looks similar to the extension he actually got: six years, $141 million, $90 million in guarantees. That is a LOT of money to someone who is not a quarterback, and especially for a team which is already paying a market-value deal to their franchise quarterback. Paying a defensive player a huge amount is really only palatable for teams whose quarterback is on a rookie deal. The Raiders were not going to give Mack that kind of deal, and he forced their hand.But the Bears did give Mack that deal. They gave up two first round picks, a third and a sixth. That is a ton of compensation (some may say, not nearly enough for a future Hall of Famer like Mack), but it also makes this trade difficult to judge, because we don’t know who those draft picks will become next year or the following year. What we do know is, the Raiders invested three of this year’s picks in defensive linemen and all those players look to be quality. We also know that the 2019 draft is going to be chock-full of elite defensive linemen, so if the Raiders decide they need another edge rusher, they can go get one. Will he be on Khalil Mack’s level? No, nobody is. But there’s no reason to think that the Raiders defense this season will be worse than last season, Mack or no. The Raiders have a competent coaching staff this year, and the defense looked really promising during the preseason.Furthermore, this move nets the Raiders plenty of cap space on a team which has several starters on one-year ‘prove it’ deals. If the Raider players do prove it, the Raiders have more freedom to re-sign them. And if not, the Raiders have lots of room to sign a number of quality free agents next season. A deal with Mack wouldn’t have precluded the Raiders from doing this, necessarily, but it would have given them far less flexibility to improve a team which has proven very little. This move doesn’t do much to improve the Oakland Raiders, although it’s unclear how much it will hurt the team in a quantifiable sense. What the move does do is set the Las Vegas Raiders up for long-term success with four first-rounders in the next two years and improved ability to attract premier free agents. Perhaps that is distasteful for fans in Oakland, but it’s a necessity for Mark Davis, Reggie McKenzie and Jon Gruden.
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