- Oakland Raiders star defensive end Khalil Mack has been holding out of training camp for a new contract.
- According to a report, Mack and Raiders head coach Jon Gruden have not spoken since Gruden was hired in January.
- Contract talks between the Raiders and Mack are reportedly tense, meaning the holdout could last for a while.
The Oakland Raiders are currently without star defensive end Khalil Mack at training camp, and there’s no end in sight.
Mack, a fifth-year year veteran set to make $US13.8 million in the final year of his deal, has been holding out of team activities all summer for a new contract.
But the situation has the potential to get uglier. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Mack and head coach Jon Gruden haven’t spoken since Gruden was hired as Raiders head coach in January. Schefter added that he believes Gruden has tried to reach out to Mack but has been unsuccessful.
Additionally, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, things are “tense” between Mack and the Raiders, with contract talks not going smoothly.
Gruden told reporters in June that one of the reasons he took the Raiders job was to coach Mack.
Mack is one of the best pass-rushers in the NFL and perhaps the Raiders’ best player. He’s played every game in his career, racking up 40.5 sacks, including 15 in 2015, with 9 forced fumbles. Pro Football Focus graded Mack as the 31st best player in the NFL last season (a slight decrease from years prior) and the 19th best overall defensive player.
It’s unclear what Mack may be asking for, but it’s sure to rival that of the top defensive ends in the league. In 2016, New York Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon signed a five-year, $US85 million contract, with $US40.5 million guaranteed. JJ Watt famously signed a six-year, $US100 million contract, but with only $US30 million guaranteed.
Of course, Mack and his agent wouldn’t negotiate directly with Gruden, but having a relationship at all with the head coach would presumably help matters.
Most training camp holdouts end during the preseason or shortly into the regular season when players are tired of being fined and want to play and teams need those players back. But from the sounds of it, there’s potential for this holdout to be extra ugly.