Khalil Mack is an NFL linebacker for the Chicago Bears. He is set to have $90.1 million reasons to smile on Thanksgiving even if his Bears suffer a humiliating turkey day loss.

Khalil Mack is set to hit the market as a free agent after being traded from the Oakland Raiders, where he was one of the NFL’s best defensive players. The Bears see him as just that-a game changer on defense and an answer at linebacker for their struggling unit. Yet his departure will leave Chicago with holes to fill in order not just compete but contend this season.

Highlights of the article:

  • Khalil Mack, the Chicago Bears’ All-Pro linebacker, may have played his last snap for the team.
  • With a foot injury, the 30-year-old pass rusher will miss the remainder of the 2021 season.
  • Mack can savor the fact that he made $90 million in four seasons with the Bears.

When the Chicago Bears sold numerous draft selections to the Oakland Raiders in September 2018 for All-Pro linebacker Khalil Mack, the team hoped the move would propel them to Super Bowl contention.

The Bears, however, had forgotten that they were still the Bears. 

Mack had a strong rookie season and was named to the Pro Bowl every year from 2018 to 2020, but he has yet to win a postseason game. The Bears may now have to contemplate parting ways with their best pass-rusher, who will miss the remainder of the season after having foot surgery.

Despite the Bears’ lackluster success throughout his time, Khalil Mack has earned over $90 million.

Chicago Bears linebacker Khalil Mack in 2021.

Chicago Bears linebacker Khalil Mack in 2021. Despite the Chicago Bears’ difficulties, All-Pro linebacker Khalil Mack has made money | Getty Images/Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire

Mack has 36 sacks, 14 forced fumbles, two interceptions, and six fumble recoveries in his first 53 games with the Bears. Given that the Bears promptly extended him a six-year, $141 million contract when he arrived, it’s reasonable to assume he’s done his job.

We can’t say the same about the Bears’ organization as a whole, however. Matt Nagy, Chicago’s embattled head coach, has been criticized for continually botching the quarterback position and failing to nurture Mitchell Trubisky, the second overall selection in 2017. He was chastised earlier this year for often giving first-team plays to veteran Andy Dalton rather than first-round choice Justin Fields.

The Bears have gone 19-23 in the previous three years after being 12-4 in 2018, partly due to a strong defense. The Bears were trounced in a first-round defeat to the New Orleans Saints, despite sneaking into the 2020 NFL Playoffs as a wild-card squad.

How much worse can the Bears’ situation get? On Thanksgiving, they play the 0-9-1 Detroit Lions on the road, and don’t be astonished if Tim Boyle — yes, Tim Boyle — shocks the world on national television.

Mack may be pleased with the fact that he made $90.1 million in his first four seasons with the Bears. On a mediocre franchise, he’s made an average of $1.7 million per game. Who could say no to that?

Did anybody truly win the Bears-Raiders trade in retrospect?

Neither club benefited from the Khalil Mack deal. The Bears paid a price that should only be paid for a guy who is the last piece on a Super Bowl contender, yet since his arrival, the Bears are 0-2 in the playoffs. The Raiders wasted the draft selections they received in exchange for him.

November 19, 2021 — Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith)

For a moment, let’s travel back to September of 2018. Mack, a 2020 second-round pick and a 2020 seventh-round pick, were traded by the Raiders to the Bears. The Raiders got first-round selections in 2019 and 2020 from Chicago, as well as a 2019 sixth-round pick and a 2020 third-round pick.

Cole Kmet (57 career receptions for 539 yards and two touchdowns as of Nov. 23, 2021) and reserve offensive tackle Arlington Hambright were the two draft selections utilized by Chicago. Mack’s worth is self-evident, while Kmet has made significant progress in his first full season as a starter.

There’s also the Raiders’ haul. While remaining in Oakland, the club selected Alabama running back Josh Jacobs with the 24th overall selection in 2019, earning him Pro Bowl accolades in 2020. Despite the fact that he is still just 23, the former Crimson Tide running back’s yards per carry have plummeted from 4.8 in his debut season to 3.7 in 2021. The Raiders traded their sixth-round selection to the New York Jets, who picked Blessuan Austin of Rutgers.

What about the draft for 2020? Ohio State cornerback Damon Arnette and receiver Bryan Edwards were picked by the now-Las Vegas Raiders. Arnette only played in 13 games over the course of two years, and he struggled on the field. After a video emerged of him flashing numerous firearms and threatening to murder someone, the Raiders waived him on Nov. 8.

In the Raiders’ first ten games this season, Edwards had a 20.7 yard per reception average. We won’t dismiss him just yet since he has 32 receptions for 627 yards and three scores in 22 games and is still improving.

Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk just said it best on Twitter. The Bears gave up much too much for a guy who wasn’t the missing piece in their quest for a Super Bowl berth. The Raiders, on the other hand, aren’t seeing enough return on their investments right now.

With all due deference to Jacobs and Edwards, who have done their bit, they will still be required to make amends for the Arnette blunder.

After this season, the Bears may need to put an end to Mack’s tenure.

In Chicago, the end of an era is rapidly nearing. The Bears are anticipated to dismiss Nagy after the Thanksgiving game, according to Patch, a Chicago news source. On Tuesday, Nov. 23, Nagy told reporters that the story is “not correct.”

In the coming weeks, the Bears may potentially split ways with general manager Ryan Pace, who has been widely chastised. Fields, running back David Montgomery, and linebacker Roquan Smith, among others, would be handed over to a new management.

Although the incoming government would technically inherit Mack, the Bears may want to go in a different way. According to NBC Sports, trading the veteran pass-rusher, who turns 31 in February and has six sacks in seven games before his injury, would free about $6 million in salary space for the Bears.

Any club that acquires Mack in a trade would owe him $17.5 million in 2022, but they could potentially walk on after that season and not owe him anything for the remaining two years of his deal. That may be a move worth considering for clubs with cap room and a willingness to take a gamble.

What about the Bears? To begin, a win against the hapless Lions on Thanksgiving would be a great place to start. No one wants to be the Lions’ first win of the season at this stage.

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Shawne Merriman, an ex-NFL linebacker, is ready to make a major change in the future of Bears quarterback Justin Fields: ‘Do not sabotage my young rookie’s self-assurance.’

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