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Raiders send star pass rusher Khalil Mack to Bears in massive trade

AP

The Chicago Bears spent the offseason loading up to end a string of losing seasons. They just made their biggest move.

The Bears acquired star pass rusher Khalil Mack from the Raiders in a massive trade on Saturday that sent two first-round draft picks to Oakland.

Mack held out for the entire offseason and preseason, seeking a new, long-term contract rather than play under the final year of his rookie deal that would have earned him $13.8 million. Raiders coach Jon Gruden, in his biggest move since returning to the sideline from the broadcast booth, accommodated the 27-year-old Mack by dealing him.

Oakland will get first-round selections in 2019 and 2020, a sixth-rounder next year and a third-rounder in 2020. Oakland also included its second-round selection in 2020 and a conditional fifth-rounder that year.

Mack and the Bears agreed to a six-year, $141 million extension that guarantees $90 million. That makes him the highest-paid defensive player in league history one day after Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year, signed a six-year, $135 million deal, with $87 million guaranteed.

ESPN first reported the trade.

The fifth overall selection in the 2014 draft, Mack is a two-time All-Pro and the 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Mack has played in every game for Oakland the past four seasons, with 231 primary tackles, 40½ sacks, and nine forced fumbles.

“We are excited to add a special playmaker like Khalil to our football team,” Bears general manager Ryan Pace said in a statement. “He brings a ton on the field, but he really fits what we are building in our locker room, too. Elite defensive players in their prime are rare so when we knew we had a legit shot to acquire him, we did everything we thought necessary to get him.”

Mack had been a cornerstone in Oakland along with Carr ever since being drafted and helped the Raiders end a 13-year playoff drought in 2016. But he never formed a relationship with Gruden, who had said the opportunity to coach Mack was one of the reasons he was attracted to the job.

Gruden had called Mack Oakland’s best player but decided to go in a different direction rather than give another player a contract worth more than $20 million a year after Carr got a lucrative extension last summer.

Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said the two sides traded initial offers before the start of the league year in March and weren’t close at all. The gap never narrowed.

“My whole thought process was to get Khalil in here,” McKenzie said. “It was here at the end in the final hour that it kind of just hit and it hit hard and heavy. It was not the plan to trade him at all.”

The Raiders invested heavily in the pass rush in the draft, taking tackles P.J. Hall and Maurice Hurst, and end Arden Key in hopes of teaming them with Mack and Irvin. The three rookies showed promise in the preseason, but they will never get the chance to play with Mack.

Chicago opens on Sept. 9 in a prime-time game against Green Bay, while Oakland hosts the Rams on Sept. 10.