The Oakland Raiders made headlines prior to the 2018 NFL season when head coach Jon Gruden decided to part ways with Khalil Mack.
Mack was looking to become the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL following a Hall of Fame-caliber start to his career. However, Oakland ultimately decided to save their money and stock up on picks by trading him to the Chicago Bears.
It was not long before Mack made the Raiders immediately regret their decision with a monster outing in Week 1. His performance last season just added salt to an open wound for those involved with the franchise.
According to Matt Schneidman of the Bay Area News Group, Gruden admits it is still difficult to fathom:
“It’s hard to replace a guy like that. It’s sensitive. I’m still sensitive about it … I do know this: my brother didn’t get anything for Kirk Cousins except a compensatory pick. At least we got some picks. We got a chance to do something with them.”
It appears Gruden has attempted to alleviate the pain of losing Mack by likening it to his brother’s situation with Kirk Cousins. However, it is safe to say that there is no comparison between the two players as far as talent goes.
Mack finished the season with 47 tackles, 12.5 sacks, six forced fumbles, and took an interception for a touchdown in 16 games. Meanwhile, the Raiders endured a disastrous 4-12 season as the worst pass-rushing team in the league.
Gruden has since put the onus on himself and the front office to justify their questionable trades by cashing in on the 2019 NFL Draft. The Raiders currently own three first-round picks and have let it be known that they will be considering all possibilities moving forward.