Last week, upon signing his record-setting $25 million per year deal, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr proclaimed that he deliberately left money on the table for teammates who need new deals.
“Is this good for Khalil [Mack]?” was one of the questions Carr specifically, and repeatedly, posed to G.M. Reggie McKenzie.
If it is, it won’t be yet. In the wake of guard Gabe Jackson getting a new contract, Adam Schefter of ESPN said this: “With deals done for Gabe Jackson/Derek Carr, Khalil Mack will have to wait till 2018 for new deal, per sources. Too big to fit under cap now.”
I don’t doubt that someone expressed that reasoning to Schefter (although when it comes to “sources” I’ll bet the under), but the claim is, frankly, crap.
If the Raiders wanted to get a deal done with Mack now, they could do it, cap be damned. According to the NFLPA’s official website, the Raiders currently have $32.8 million in cap space. And while it’s unclear on which specific day the information on the union website was last updated “daily,” if the Raiders had that much before doing Jackson’s deal or even before doing Carr’s deal, there’s a way to make those dollars work toward a long-term deal for all three players.
But if for some reason $32.8 million in 2017 cap room weren’t enough to sign all three players, more cap room easily could be created. A simple restructuring of the contract of guard Kelechi Osemele could instantly create more than $4 million in cap room. More than $2 million could be cleared by a simple restructuring of linebacker Bruce Irvin’s contract.
And there are other ways to create cap room in the current year, something the Raiders (who had to scramble earlier this year to comply with the spending floor) haven’t had to do in a long time.
So the issue isn’t whether they can sign Mack now. The issue is whether they want to. Apparently, they don’t.
Apparently, they prefer to squat on his rights for the next year, since he’s signed through 2018. And so, unlike Carr and Jackson, Mack isn’t entering a contract year.
He also has no real leverage. With a $2.276 million roster bonus due on the third day of training camp, a holdout becomes a lot more expensive than the $40,000 per day in fines.
So Mack can’t really do anything at this point except be upset. And upset he should be, given that: (1) he’ll have to carry the injury risk for another year until he gets paid; and (2) the Raiders apparently are making a lame excuse for not paying him now.