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NFL Trade Rumors: Raiders Called Bears About Khalil Mack Before Signing Ngakoue

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVAugust 23, 2021

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Las Vegas Raiders reportedly reached out to the Chicago Bears to see whether they could bring outside linebacker Khalil Mack back to the organization after trading him in 2018.

Vic Tafur of The Athletic reported Monday the Raiders "made a phone call" to the Bears in March to see whether Mack could be available for another blockbuster trade between the teams, but Chicago was "not interested" in the idea.

Las Vegas subsequently signed edge-rusher Yannick Ngakoue to a two-year, $26 million contract in free agency.

The Raiders, who were in Oakland at the time, selected Mack with the fifth overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft. The University at Buffalo product burst into the national spotlight in an August 2013 game against second-ranked Ohio State when he recorded nine tackles, 2.5 sacks and an interception for a touchdown.

Mack quickly emerged as one of the NFL's most impactful defenders. He recorded 304 total tackles, 84 quarterback hits, 40.5 sacks, 11 passes defended, nine forced fumbles and an interception in 64 appearances across four years with the Raiders.

The 2016 Defensive Player of the Year grew frustrated with his contract ahead of the 2018 season, however, and held out for the entirety of training camp and preseason before his trade to Chicago.

He's remained a force on the edge for the Bears, tallying 30 sacks, 14 forced fumbles and 11 passes defended in 46 games over the past three seasons.

Although speculation emerged Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, who was hired in 2018, didn't want Mack, team owner Mark Davis said that wasn't the case and it was simply a situation where the team couldn't afford to give the linebacker the six-year, $141 million deal he ultimately got from Chicago.

"Jon wanted him. Everybody thinks that Jon's the one who wanted to get rid of him. Jon wanted him badly," Davis told ESPN's Paul Gutierrez in 2018. "Why wouldn't you want this guy? [Former general manager] Reggie [McKenzie] wanted him badly. And I wanted him badly, too."

The return of Mack would have provided a massive boost to a Las Vegas pass rush that finished 29th in the NFL with 21 sacks during the 2020 season.

Ngakoue isn't an upper-echelon talent like Mack, but he's been a highly reliable edge-rusher since the Jacksonville Jaguars selected him in the third round of the 2016 draft. He's tallied at least eight sacks in all five of his pro seasons, including a career-high 12 in 2017.

The 26-year-old Washington, D.C., native split last season between the Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens, finishing the year with 23 total tackles and eight sacks.

Looking ahead, Chicago and Las Vegas are scheduled to face off in Week 5 at Allegiant Stadium, and the Mack rumors will add a little more intrigue to that Oct. 10 clash.

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