With defensive end Khalil Mack set to enter the final guaranteed year of his rookie contract in 2017, the Oakland Raiders will have to open their wallet to keep the star in silver and black for years to come.
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Raiders GM Discusses Mack Contract
Thursday, Jan. 19
According to Jimmy Durkin of the Bay Area News Group, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said Thursday the team would "work around" Mack and quarterback Derek Carr being able to seek large contracts.
The Raiders can buy additional time to work out a long-term deal with Mack if they exercise the fifth-year option in his contract for 2018, which would seem to be a no-brainer.
In his first three seasons, Mack has established himself as one of the NFL's best pass-rushers. He has recorded 26 sacks over the past two years and forced a career-high five fumbles in 2016.
Per Pro Football Focus, Mack was the NFL's highest-rated edge defender last season with an overall grade of 93.9.
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Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported in December the Raiders would focus their attention on re-signing Carr before Mack because of the differences in their contracts.
The team drafted both players in 2014, but as a first-round pick, Mack's deal includes an extra option year. Carr can become an unrestricted free agent after next season if he doesn't work out a new contract with the Raiders.
Salary-cap space isn't an issue for the Raiders, who have an estimated $49.8 million available in 2017, per Spotrac.
Whenever the Raiders decide to open negotiations with Mack, it doesn't sound like he's going anywhere. The franchise is coming off its first playoff appearance since 2002, so there's no reason to break up a good thing.