Raiders News: Khalil Mack Trade Given Best Transaction Award by Analytics Group

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 2019

Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden speaks to reporters during a news conference after an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)
Frank Victores/Associated Press

Although many have mocked Jon Gruden and the Oakland Raiders for trading away star pass-rusher Khalil Mack, the move has been praised by those in the analytics community. 

The Sloan Sports Analytics Conference at MIT gave out its annual Alpha Awards on Monday and the Mack trade was named the Best Transaction throughout the year in the entire sports world. The Raiders received four picks in the deal, including two first-round picks.

The Chicago Bears were happy about being on the other side of the trade, adding a player who eventually racked up 12.5 sacks and was named first-team All-Pro. 

After missing the playoffs for seven straight seasons, Mack helped Chicago post a 12-4 record and win the NFC North in 2018. The squad finished with the best defense in football in points allowed.

However, the Raiders were surprisingly the ones honored for the transaction.

As Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk noted, the Raiders likely wouldn't have been competitive anyway and analytics suggest "tearing teams down before rebuilding" (like the Philadelphia 76ers) is the best course of action. The move helped add assets while saving cap room for a team that didn't need a high-priced linebacker.

While the Raiders will be under pressure to land valuable prospects with the picks acquired, the move was still considered a smart one.

Last year's Alpha Award winner for Best Transaction went to the Houston Rockets for picking up Chris Paul, so the group doesn't always recognize rebuilding efforts.

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