It’s confirmed. The New York Jets have reached out to the Oakland Raiders regarding pass-rusher extraordinaire Khalil Mack.
The New York Jets continue to inquire about premiere pass rushing talent. The latest phone call had a 510 area code of the Oakland Raiders as Khalil Mack was on the Jets’ minds.
This was confirmed by Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News on Wednesday evening. The Jets aren’t the only team interested, as around 12 teams have phoned into 1 Oakland Drive to gauge the Raiders interest in doing a deal.
There is no formal offer on the table yet from the Jets per Mehta, but it does establish a clear bravado that this team means business in 2018. The Jets also inquired about Dante Fowler Jr, a 24-year-old pass rushing talent from the Jacksonville Jaguars earlier this week.
When Jets Insider Joe Caporoso was asked where on the panic scale is he in relation to the Jets’ pass rush this week on his weekly radio hit with Boy Green on Drive Time Sports, he said this:
“Oh, it’s a definite 10. The Jets have arguably the worst collection of outside linebackers and edge rushers in the NFL. You essentially have a bunch of special teamers. Guys who really shouldn’t be full-time players on an NFL defense. There’s a reason the guy who led the Jets in sacks last year was David Bass (3.5 sacks last season) and he was signed after the season started. A street free agent who might not even make the team. So obviously pass rush is a major area of concern. It’s something the Jets are desperate to try and improve this offseason.”
— The Score 1260 (@TheScore1260) August 22, 2018
So what would it take?
The conversation will start with a minimum first round pick, but it should extend beyond that with either player involvement or another premium pick (within the first four rounds of the NFL Draft).
Plus, of course, the most overlooked notion of this deal coming together is the contract extension.
The whole reason Mack isn’t in an Oakland Raiders uniform right now is that he wants to be paid like a quarterback, which, apparently, the Raiders are struggling with. I mean, he spends most of his time sacking them, after all, so why shouldn’t he be paid like one? It is a bit hypocritical to ask Mack to sack professional football players who make more money than he does … go figure.
Mack is scheduled to make $13.8 million on his fifth-year option, the last year of his rookie deal. Mack and Aaron Donald are the two prominent defensive players who are holding out for similar deals (over $20 million per season, per reports, is the asking price).
While that seems a bit over the top on the surface, the Jets should absolutely consider pulling the trigger. Look at the production:
- In the last three years, Mack has combined for 36.5 sacks, over 210 tackles and has reached the Pro Bowl in each of those seasons.
The Jets have finished in the bottom five in sacks over the last two years. I’m afraid that the lack of pass rush in 2018 could jeopardize all of the assets they’ve invested into their secondary.
Some analysts are saying that the Jets have the best secondary in football, but that won’t matter if they don’t have a pass rush. Even the best corner can only cover for so long. If the Jets had a pass rush, that could be the missing piece to getting this unit from a good defense to an elite one.
This team has one big name player coming up for a contract extension in the near future in Leonard Williams, but that’s really it. So that means they have the money to pull off the move, the draft assets necessary to make this move happen, and the obvious need on the defensive side of the ball.
Honestly, this makes too much sense not to happen, at least from the Jets perspective. Currently, the Raiders aren’t in the “giving away potential future Pro Football Hall of Famers mood,” but with time, that could change. The longer this holdout persists, the better chance there is of Mack playing in a different uniform this season.