Baltimore Ravens: Exploring the Raiders “shopping Khalil Mack”
While there aren’t any cons to adding Khalil Mack to the Ravens defense, there are some difficulties he brings to the team. No, this isn’t a character issue, it’s a fiscal issue.
For starters, acquiring Mack won’t be cheap for numerous reasons. First of all, simply trading for him will cost the Ravens a pretty penny or two. After that, Mack becomes a one-year rental, unless Baltimore can find a way to resign him long-term. It won’t matter what position you consider him, whether that be a defensive end or an outside linebacker (the most likely position he’d play in Baltimore), Mack’s contract will be $20+ million.
At outside linebacker, Von Miller currently owns the highest paid annual contract at ~$19 million per year. For defensive ends, Olivier Vernon makes $17 million per season (excluding Ezekiel Ansah and DeMarcus Lawrence, who will each make $17.143 million in 2018 under the Franchise Tag). Mack is arguably better than all the names listed, especially at this point in his career. Playing in an era revolving around “one-upping” contracts, Mack will easily cross the $20 million annual salary.
Meanwhile, this contract would force Baltimore to watch young players who could become franchise stapples walk. Guys like Matt Judon (unrestricted free agent after 2019) and Michael Pierce (restricted free agent following 2018) have both shown flashes of being long-term Ravens. Watching talented players walk is something Ravens fans are used to, but Judon and Pierce seem different from the rest.
However, there is one player Baltimore can’t afford to lose: C.J. Mosley. Signing Mack long-term would entirely jeopardize resigning Mosley. Currently, inside linebackers are making more than $10 million per season, with Luke Kuechly topping the list at $12.36 million annually.
Signing both Mack and Mosley to “one-up” style contracts would cost the Ravens close to $35 million annually, and that could easily be a best-case scenario for the team. It’s simply so hard to justify that much money into two players on defense, but it would be well worth it if the Ravens brass found a way to make it work.