When the Oakland Raiders were shopping Khalil Mack last year, a frequent team that kept popping up in trade rumors was the Green Bay Packers. Seeing the Pack add the devastating Mack was a nightmare scenario for Chicago Bears fans, many of which were holding out hope that Chicago general manager Ryan Pace would be the one that swung the blockbuster deal for arguably the best edge rusher in the league today.
Bears’ fans got their happy ending when Pace sent first-round picks in 2019 and 2020, a third-round pick in 2020, and a sixth-round pick in 2019 to get their man in Khalil Mack. To make the deal even sweeter for the Bears, Oakland sent Chicago a second-round pick in 2020 and a conditional fifth-round pick in 2020 along with Mack.
Last year, several Packer fans popped up in my Twitter mentions claiming that Green Bay never had any real interest in adding Mack, but in a recent interview with Baltimore’s 105.7, The Fan, Packer CEO/President Mark Murphy said otherwise.
“Well the whole Khalil Mack thing. It’s not that we didn’t try,” Murphy explained to The FAN’s Gary Ellerson live on The BIG SHOW from the Packers Hall of Fame Golf Outing at The Bull at Pinehurst Farms. “We were aggressive. We wanted to sign him. I think, ironically, the Raiders took the Bears offer because they thought they would be a better draft pick.”
This makes me wonder how the discussions between Chicago and Oakland went.
Since higher draft picks was what Oakland’s Jon Gruden was looking for in the trade, that probably means that Ryan Pace had to convince Gruden that the Bears were at least a year away from being any good at all. Pace had to undersell the team he spent three years rebuilding to dupe the Raiders into thinking Chicago's draft picks were the most valuable on the table.
The reality is that Pace thought Mack was the final piece of the puzzle for the Bears to become contenders — which is why he wanted to add the dominating defensive presence to his already good defense in the first place — but he had to play it cool when talking to Gruden.
Pace had already revamped his entire offense with head coach Matt Nagy, tight end Trey Burton, wide outs Allen Robinson II and Taylor Gabriel, not to mention drafting receiver Anthony Miller and interior offensive lineman James Daniels, but he had to tell the Raiders that his team wasn’t any good.
This story won’t get the same buzz as the San Francisco 49ers “fleecing” the Bears in the Mitchell Trubisky trade, but that’s okay because the Bears are the team coming off a 12-4 season and a division title while Oakland and San Francisco combined for eight wins a year ago.