Among the many 2014 first-round picks who have earned but not received long-term contracts is Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack. The fifth overall pick four Aprils ago, 2016 NFL defensive player of the year still hasn’t gotten the financial reward that the rookie wage scale kept from him.
Mack may now be doing something about it.
Via Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, Mack didn’t report for the first day of the team’s offseason program. While the process is completely voluntary, his absence sends a clear message, especially with new coach Jon Gruden champing at the bit to coach up his players.
Mack will make $13.846 million this year under the fifth-year option. The Raiders could tag him in 2019 and 2020 before facing a Kirk Cousins-style day of reckoning in 2021, but the 27-year-old Mack surely won’t want to wait that long, especially since he plays a position that entails enhanced risk of injury.
With no remaining signing-bonus proration, Mack can boycott everything until he gets a new deal, with the fines for missing mandatory minicamp and the daily fines for skipping training camp the only financial incentive to get Mack to show.
Still, a holdout can’t be ruled out. Mack’s agent, Joel Segal, kept running back Chris Johnson out of camp in 2011 in order to get the player paid, and Segal possibly will do it again with Mack, who has watched the Raiders give quarterback Derek Carr a contract worth $25 million per year after only three seasons. Mack now has played four full years, he has earned his next deal, and it’s now time for Mack to get paid.
Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that the team and player have been negotiating, but that the early stages of negotiation revealed a significant gap between the two sides.