Like Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack is holding out for a new deal while operating under the fifth-year option of a first-round contract. Unlike Donald, Mack isn’t talking to his team.
If Donald and the Rams are in the same zip code, area code, and ball park, Mack and the Raiders are in different solar systems, with still no communication in months.
This means that Mack remains a long shot to cave in and show up before Friday night’s preseason visit from the Lions, even though by rule holdouts in the fifth year of a first-round contract face fines in the amount of a regular-season game check.
For Donald, the price of skipping preseason games becomes $405,000, because his fifth-year option salary is only $6.892 million, as a player not drafted in the top 10. Mack, the fifth pick in 2014, has option-year compensation of $13.846 million. Which means that, for each preseason game, Mack can be fined $814,000.
The current relationship between the Rams and Donald suggests that he won’t be fined more than $1.6 million if he skips all four preseason games. Since there is no current relationship between Mack and the Raiders, it’s impossible to know whether the Raiders would collect more than $3.2 million if Mack stays away through the end of August. Mack would be wise to assume that the Raiders will.
So if Mack wants to convince any skeptics that he’s serious about holding out into the regular season, holding out into the preseason should go a long way toward sending that message. As far as he knows, the process of giving up regular-season game checks begins Friday night, when he potentially loses more than $814,000 that he previously has earned.
Which in some ways hurts a lot more than never earning it in the first place.