Jon Gruden: Khalil Mack obviously didn’t want to play here

Getty Images

Shortly after the Raiders traded Khalil Mack to the Bears, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden couched the decision to make the move as a financial one.

“You’ve got to field a 53-man roster and there are some implications of having two players making that much,” Gruden said in reference to Mack and quarterback Derek Carr.

In an interview with Lisa Salters of ESPN, Gruden took a different approach to explaining why Mack was playing for the Bears on Sunday night instead of playing for the Raiders against the Rams on Monday night.

“Obviously, Khalil Mack didn’t want to play here,” Gruden said. “That’s what’s being missed here. He was under contract, Lisa. He was under contract. He never showed up for an OTA, never showed up for a training camp and it was obvious he wasn’t going to show up for the season. Don’t forget that. We have to get ready to play and I want players that want to be here, that want to help us put this thing back in high gear.”

One can’t argue with Gruden about Mack not being at OTAs, which are voluntary activities players skip for myriad reasons, or training camp. One can wonder how those fairly common activities related to contract negotiations correlate to an obvious lack of desire to play for the Raiders unless Gruden simply means the lack of desire to play for the Raiders for whatever amount of money the Raiders decide he should accept.

The Rams took a different approach with defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who missed OTAs and camp last year and this year before signing a new deal with the team that briefly set a financial standard that Mack surpassed with his Bears deal. His presence on the L.A. defense and Mack’s absence from the Oakland defense will be two of the things to watch when the teams close out Week One.

84 responses to “Jon Gruden: Khalil Mack obviously didn’t want to play here

  1. Say what you will about the decision to trade him but Gruden is not wrong. Another broken relationship just like Bell with the Steelers.

  2. Gruden can say whatever he wants. It’s going to be crystal clear that they NEEDED Mack and couldn’t get the job done for whatever reason, increasingly looking like because Gruden can’t have anyone stepping on his ego.

  3. So,For Raider fans one expensive player is all that can be handled. Funny how other teams seem to get it done. rarely do you see someone of Mack’s talent just walk away for what will amount to a mid level first round pick and a swap 1 for 2 the following year…….Long time rider fan here but not so much anymore –too incompetent for too long

  4. I’m pretty sure he just didn’t want to play on a 1 year, $13 contract and be franchise tagged after that.

    After what he did last night without any training camp or preseason, I don’t blame him.

  5. “Obviously, Khalil Mack didn’t want to play here,” Gruden said. “That’s what’s being missed here. He was under contract, Lisa. He was under contract. He never showed up for an OTA, never showed up for a training camp and it was obvious he wasn’t going to show up for the season. Don’t forget that. We have to get ready to play and I want players that want to be here, that want to help us put this thing back in high gear.”

    ========================

    This is of course complete nonsense. The Raiders have had plenty of other high profile players hold out throughout the course of their history without trading them. Also, an over-the-hill team cancer like Penn held out all summer last year and unfortunately the Raiders caved in to him and Penn is STILL with the team.

    No, my belief is that Gruden orchestrated this trade because his massive ego could not cope with the fact that Khalil Mack is a superstar and as such is his own man. Gruden likes his “Gruden Grinders” which is basically a code phrase for average/marginal players who gain favor by brown-nosing their way into the good graces of the “coaching legend”.

  6. “You’ve got to field a 53-man roster and there are some implications of having two players making that much,” Gruden said in reference to Mack and quarterback Derek Carr.

    Mack , under his new deal, makes more than the entire patriots front 4 combined. (Humm).
    Maybe Mr. Gruden is finally learning how to put a roster together.

    Wise jr.= 555K/base
    Brown= 1.473M/Base
    Guy= $1.4M/Base
    Clayborne= $1.5M/Base

  7. Gruden is lying through his hairpiece.

    Let’s examine the facts shall we and what a team should do and will do when their star player is using the only bit of leverage he has, which is the final year of a contract. So Gruden when he got there talked about reaching out to Kahlil, something he never did. He talked about how “we weren’t that good on defense with Kahlil” in order to sow the seeds of getting rid of Mack and having the fan base accept this.

    Then he talks about not having enough money to keep both Mack and Carr.

    The Raiders currently have 16 million in space for this year but 62 million next season with cooper still on the roster! They have 7 million in dead cap and could free up a sizable amount by cutting several veterans who won’t be on the roster for next year. So this idea that they didn’t have space for him is ludicrous, and yes Cooper potentially needs to be resigned but he’s already costing you 13 million against the cap next year and there’s no guarantee he’s going to be good this season as he was average at best last year.

    So you have the space and plan to keep him.

    Now he’s attacking Khalil’s heart? Are you kidding me? You think he didn’t want to play for you? All he did was talk about missing the game and wanting to be a raider. Just ask your QB! You’re the one who never talked to him even as he’s traded. You honestly think Reggie wanted to trade away the best player he ever drafted? You dream that a pick turns out as well as Mack.

    I hope the Rams put up 100 on that sorry D tonight. Honestly they certainly could, but I guess having a guy who wrecked the game for GB last night, and had it not been for Kyle Boller 2.0 playing for the Bears would have won the game. That’s why Gruden has to tell you what you saw last night wouldn’t translate.

    It’s a joke, just like this team.

  8. Mack is a great player the best
    Mack gives his all every game
    The Raiders were 6-10 last season
    Mack played in Oakland 4 seasons
    The Raiders only had one winning season with Mack
    Mack does not win you games
    Last night the Bears lost
    After one of Mack’s best games ever
    Get it
    He’s only one player
    yet he makes as much as three players
    simple math

    All the fake Raider fans and anti Raider people get a clue what team has two players that make 25 million a year on a 6 year deal with 80 million guaranteed ???

    maybe its not simple math… HA HA

  9. Can you blame Mack? The Bears are a much better team and a historic franchise. The Raiders are a bad team with a horrible fan base that consists of convicted felons and mentality disturbed people.

  10. Mack’s good no doubt, but let’s do a case study. Who was the last all pro the patriots had on the Dline. Either wilfork or Seymour, I dunno I’m not a pats fan. They traded Seymour to the raiders, bc they didn’t want to pay him what his market value demanded. Suh went to Miami, didn’t take them to new heights. Donald has been in LA for years, they were never good until last year when Goff figured it out and they actually had an offense.

    The Mack trade helped the bears, it made them better. But they are not contenders. I can at least see the raiders rationale here.

  11. What’s obvious, is the Raiders couldn’t or didn’t want to pay Mack what he was worth.

    I’m pretty sure had they offered Mack what the Bears did, Mack would have stayed a Raider.

    The NFL is a business, and players are going to go where they’re paid accordingly.

  12. Looked great againt DeShone Kizer. Went on to lose game. Divide 23.5 mil by 20 (preseason counts). That’s a lot of money to go out and lose.

  13. Reggie tends to negotiate with players once they show up for camp. I have a feeling that if Mack showed up for TC that Reggie would’ve gotten things done. That’s what happened with Penn last year.

  14. At this point I think everybody is aware of what a phony Gruden is… This isn’t going to end well for he and the Raiders.

  15. Chicago thanks Jon Gruden, as the corpse of Al Davis spins in its grave. I can’t even begin to think what those Raiders players were thinking if they watched that first half last night? Can’t even blame Mack for the loss, as he tipped the pass that Kyle Fuller dropped after his hit him in the hands. Only the second player in the history of football to have an INT, sack, forced fumble, recovered fumble and TD in one half of football. Then when you factor in he did it with ZERO OTAs, ZERO training camp and only a few days of practice on a NEW team – it just further confirms how foolish the Raiders (aka Jon Gruden) were and still are. On a somewhat related note, how did that trade of a third round pick for oft suspended WR Martavis Bryant work out, GM Gruden?

  16. It’s kind of cowardly for Gruden to start justifying dumping a super hero
    Look, admit he was awesome, admit, tongue in cheekily that if you dont get Lawrence Taylor and Barry Sanders for those 2 #1s you blew it, everything is cool.

    Instead, he tries to talk down the guy.

  17. The Raiders did not have to offer him what the Bears offered him people!!! He was already under contract with the Oakland Raiders for another year! He did not even have the right to speak to other teams until the Raiders gave him permission. They did not play hard ball. They simply knew it was over and helped him move on and get paid.

    Why is it that when Mack holds out, while under contract, and Oakland does him a courtesy by trading him….it’s the Raiders that are trash…

    …but…

    …when Pittsburgh tags Bell twice, and he holds out…then the Steelers refuse to trade him…somehow Bell is a piece of trash?

    Fans can’t figure out who’s side to be on…and they got those two situations back asswards. C’mon man.

  18. Chandler Jones?

    ____________

    nflfollower says:
    September 10, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    Mack’s good no doubt, but let’s do a case study. Who was the last all pro the patriots had on the Dline. Either wilfork or Seymour, I dunno I’m not a pats fan. They traded Seymour to the raiders, bc they didn’t want to pay him what his market value demanded. Suh went to Miami, didn’t take them to new heights. Donald has been in LA for years, they were never good until last year when Goff figured it out and they actually had an offense.

  19. Mack played one good half, one bad half, and his team lost.

    OBJ had great stats, and his team lost.

    Bell didn’t even bother to show up to play, and his fill-in had a Bell-like performance.

    And then there was Rodgers.

    A great QB is worth everything. Any other individual player is not.

  20. joemontanafootball16 says:

    He’s right though. Mack chose to not honor his contract.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    That would be wrong. The contract provides explicit instructions and penalties for players who do not report and withhold service. He was exercising his choice in a situation that is covered by the contract — that is the definition of ‘honoring’ it. Mack would not be in violation of the contract unless he did not report by the 10 th game.

  21. Mack had a new boss. He did not bother to go meet the new boss after a sub par year. Why would any employer want to make him the highest paid defender in the league under those circumstances. Gruden is preaching accountability. Something the Raiders lost a long time ago……

  22. The Raiders will end up winning this trade. Too much money for Mack. Everyone is throwing praise at him for last night. BTW- his team still lost and has a number of holes remaining.

  23. Penn and Mack are two different stories. RM has said he’ll only negotiate with players that are here. And he held his ground. Penn held out, got nowhere, showed up and got a raise.

    I’m sure contract negotiations would have been much better if Mack had bothered to just show up. Do your part. Earn your 13 million.

  24. I see a lot of armchair GMs in here, haha. There is a reason Gruden is a coach and Mackenzie is a GM, and you aren’t. If you could you would…but ya can’t and they can. You don’t have to like Gruden’s explanation BUT most teams try to get the players to play for the tag or the 5th year option. There is nothing wrong with that.

    Mack chose a strategy and it got him traded…Donald is lucky because the Rams seen in WIN NOW mode. Completely different scenarios. Also, you can’t be nearsighted about this thing like most commenters are. That’s instant gratification…what about long term? You may win now, MAYBE, but your team may explode after that.

    We won’t know how this pans out until maybe the next 3yrs. Mack is an exceptional player, he played well and probably will continue to do so…will the rest of the Bears? 0-1 is what I see and Ws are all that matter.

  25. It’s kind of cowardly for Gruden to start justifying dumping a super hero
    Look, admit he was awesome, admit, tongue in cheekily that if you dont get Lawrence Taylor and Barry Sanders for those 2 #1s you blew it, everything is cool.
    Instead, he tries to talk down the guy.

    ———————

    Don’t forget the 2 or 3 free agents the Raiders can sign with the money they didn’t spend on Mack. It’s not just the draft picks, they’ve also created cap space to build.

  26. vikingf0rlife says:
    September 10, 2018 at 4:46 pm
    No one wants to play for this dumpster organization and low life fan base
    ————————————————————-
    The Vikings have had the most NFL players in trouble with the law since 2000. They couldn’t even make it to the SB when they had the best rb in the league… oh wait, that was before he was arrested!

  27. Don’t wanna hear about the Bears losing.

    Mack tipped the pass that Kyle Fuller dropped.

    He almost single handedly won that game. He can’t catch the damned ball for Fuller.

  28. The reason the Rams got deals done with Cooks, Suh, Donald, and others is that they *wanted* to get those deals done. Goff’s contract status helped, but the bottom line is the Rams wanted those deals to happen and so they found ways to make them happen.

    I’m saying — Oakland’s front office decided they didn’t want Khalil Mack. That’s why he’s playing for another team. They didn’t want to pay him.

    It’s also possible that Gruden is right. When Oakland didn’t want to pay him, Mack probably felt disrespected and didn’t want to play there. However, money talks. If the Raiders had suddenly decided to make a real offer to Mack, as soon as he signed the contract it would have been all hugs and kisses from all concerned parties.

    Given the option of a superstar in hand vs. first round draft picks in the bush, Oakland’s front office is short-sighted. Draft picks are a spin of the roulette wheel and no one knows whether they’ll be hits or misses.

  29. For what it’s worth, while Mack played great the Bears still lost. Also, people keep bringing up Carr, but Gruden didn’t approve that deal. It will be interesting to see what they do with the picks and cap space.

  30. Nice story Jon, I’m sure a naive few will believe it.

    The issue was money, not where he wanted to play. He’d have been happy to stay if the money had been there.

  31. What’s with the Pats fans on here talking about budgets and not overspending on players. The Pats can do that because Brady is their QB and on top of that he’s taking far less money that he could get anywhere else. Once Brady retires, nickel and dimeing on contracts with good players will come back to bite the Pats just like everyone else.

  32. The Raiders have only had one winning season in the last 15 years. Mack has only enjoyed one winning season. The Raiders went out and hired a super bowl winning coach, and he brought in a new defensive coordinator. You’d think Mack, one of the leaders on the defense, would be the first guy to report to camp. He’s a very wealthy young man, and you’d think he loved football so much, he wouldn’t want to fall behind. But no. He didn’t give a darn about all the losing seasons. The Raiders were turning the page and Mack wanted no part of it. Perhaps he heard Gruden was a tough coach. Gruden makes his guys work. Mack just decided to quit on the Raiders. The Raiders are about to build a dynasty. If Mack doesn’t want to be here, forget about him.

  33. Let’s take a look at Jon Gruden’s first rounders while with the Bucs AND HAD POWER, as he did NOT have that power when with the Raiders originally:

    2004 15 Michael Clayton Wide receiver LSU
    2005 5 Carnell Williams Running back Auburn
    2006 23 Davin Joseph Guard Oklahoma
    2007 4 Gaines Adams Defensive end Clemson
    2008 20 Aqib Talib Cornerback Kansas
    2009 17 Josh Freeman Quarterback Kansas State

    Clayton sucked, Cadillac Williams was undersized and flamed out, Joseph sucked, Adams sucked, got traded to the Bears and died. Talib was good – on other teams, but has always been a headcase. Freeman flamed out.

    While with the Raiders:

    1999 18 Matt Stinchcomb G Georgia
    2000 17 Sebastian Janikowski PK Florida State
    2001 28 Derrick Gibson DB Florida State

  34. Mack playing the way he did will steal wins in games that should be losses. His two forced turnovers were worth at least nine points alone. The Packers had driven to the Chicago 9 before Mack stole the ball from Kizer. A almost certain FG, if not TD, gone. Then picking off the pass and scoring a TD himself, in a game which the offense had trouble scoring points.

  35. the bears still lost but Mack got all the stats and headlines just like when he was here with the Raiders..Gruden dont care about stats he wants wins and we need 11 guys to want it..you pay 1 person and look what happens ..sure Mack had the nice stats but where was he in the 4th quarter with game on the line ..just like in Oakland exactly like it ..he had the nice stats but stats do not equal wins ..dont worry Gruden knows what he is doing because i think the same way but i know most people just dont get it

  36. Gruden stinks, time will tell. No Mack didn’t win, he doesn’t call the plays, throw the ball, play receiver or corner. If his teammates did all of those things as well as he plays backer they would have won. He is an incredible player, a superstar.

  37. A new head coach must reach out to cornerstone players, at least to stroke their ego a bit.

    A phone call would’ve gone a long way, but in the end the RAIDERS weren’t going to spend the money to keep him.

    Mack was a beast last night, no question.

    But, Bears lost.

    So there’s that.

  38. I concur. Raiders have lots of needs on D as evidenced by fact that they weren’t great with Mack there, and getting 2 1st rd picks is a nice return. Talk to me 2 years from now when Bears have no 1st rd picks(don’t forget the Trubisky trade).

  39. The Raiders aren’t a good enough team to keep Mack. There are too many other holes to fill. At what he’s being paid, Mack is a luxury to most teams. He’s cost prohibitive to a lot of teams. Especially if your roster is being completely churned and you need a talent upgrade at most positions. And the defense has the most holes to fill.

  40. The Bears are 0-1. If the Raiders win more games than the Bears AND they get draft pics then Gruden comes out ahead.

    If not – then Gruden made a poor decision.

    All the hysteria that infected Sports from the Gossip magazines is nonsense.

    Sports has a score – winners and losers. Let the games begin.

  41. Gotta love the hypocrisy from Gruden. I used all my leverage to extort the most money out of the org. Now I’m criticizing someone else for using their leverage to get paid.

    Kudos Mack.

  42. gisellichek says:
    September 10, 2018 at 4:55 pm
    “You’ve got to field a 53-man roster and there are some implications of having two players making that much,” Gruden said in reference to Mack and quarterback Derek Carr.

    Mack , under his new deal, makes more than the entire patriots front 4 combined. (Humm).
    Maybe Mr. Gruden is finally learning how to put a roster together.

    Wise jr.= 555K/base
    Brown= 1.473M/Base
    Guy= $1.4M/Base
    Clayborne= $1.5M/Base
    ——–

    And I bet macks stats from week 1 probably look better than all 4 of those guys as well. . . .combined.

  43. Raiders have 16 million in cap space. Jordy Nelson costs 7.3 million against their cap. Tamir Whitehead is 5.6 million against the cap, Rashann Melvin 5.3 million.

    RaiderFan who would you rathe have; Jordy Nelson, Whitehead, and Melvin, or Khalil Mack?

  44. The Raiders just seem like a franchise that’s out of touch with modern times. Gruden’s demeanor and roster construction confirm that. If the Raiders were a house you’d walk in and there’d be wood paneling all over the house walls and 1970’s formica countertops.

  45. I literally can’t believe people are defending players for holding out when they are under contract. This is about honoring your word. If you agree to do something, you should do so. It’s not ok that you’re doing it for extra money. I guarantee if you’re a renter and have a lease and your landlord decides to raise your rent before the lease ends because he can get more money, you’re going to go crazy, call the news, sue him and anything else you can think of, even if you can easily afford it. The hypocrisy is blowing my mind.

  46. Cue up the Benny Hill music for the Gruden led Raiders, it is going to be a long season for the Nation.

  47. Sorry fanboy lawyers, the players have the right to holdout, subject to fines, under the CBA. The analogy to the landlord Tennant is laughable.

  48. First of all, holding out is not honoring your contract. What kind of argument is that? It is soooo not honoring your contract that the NFL decided to withhold your pay as a deterrent. They have found that most times that is enough to encourage players to show up for work.

    The week 10 bit is only significant to the real knuckleheads who do t get the hint. The NFL made it clear that if they push their luck beyond that point, they lose credit for the league year. That matters because it pushes the current terms of your contract to the following year. In other words, you’re back to square one….still under the same contract, except a year older, with less friends, and less accrued time toward league benefits, such as veteran minimums, being required to clear waivers, etc. Those types of things are calculated based on accrued time in service.

    It is within his legal rights to hold out if he is willing to accept the consequenses, but let’s be clear. Consequences are put in place for when people do not do what they are asked/expected/obligated to do. That’s the point.

    The team does not want the money back. The team wants to pay it to you for services rendered. That is what EVERY contract says in its simplest form. It’s an offer of employment an independent contractor, a rather complex one, but that’s still the foundation of the deal.

  49. Gruden is like the girlfriend that you dumped and all your friends tell you years later that she looks so sexy. You get back with her and remember she is cray cray.

  50. High gear? Hahahahaha. After tonight, it looks like their Carr doesn’t have more than two or three gears. 😂😂😂

  51. I see a lot of armchair GMs in here, haha. There is a reason Gruden is a coach and Mackenzie is a GM, and you aren’t. If you could you would…but ya can’t and they can. You don’t have to like Gruden’s explanation BUT most teams try to get the players to play for the tag or the 5th year option. There is nothing wrong with that.

    Mack chose a strategy and it got him traded…Donald is lucky because the Rams seen in WIN NOW mode. Completely different scenarios. Also, you can’t be nearsighted about this thing like most commenters are. That’s instant gratification…what about long term? You may win now, MAYBE, but your team may explode after that.

    We won’t know how this pans out until maybe the next 3yrs. Mack is an exceptional player, he played well and probably will continue to do so…will the rest of the Bears? 0-1 is what I see and Ws are all that matter.
    ***^^^^^^*^^

    Nah, you pay the man. Just like we paid Mack. Period. End of conversation

  52. joemontanafootball16 says:
    September 10, 2018 at 4:56 pm
    He’s right though. Mack chose to not honor his contract.

    ——.

    You mean the same contracts teams choose to not honor all the time?

    I love how players should honor contracts but ownership which signs players to 7 year deals knowing they are going to cut bait after 2-3 years is acceptable.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!