Earlier this week it was reported that star Oakland Raiders edge rusher Khalil Mack would not be present for a mandatory minicamp this week, officially making him a holdout over his contract.
And as a result of this report, many Raiders fans have been focused on the topic of who is to blame. Some believe Mack is being selfish, even going to far as to say he has no loyalty. On the flip side, others are saying that the Raiders aren’t properly valuing Mack and are risking losing one of the league’s best players for no reason.
While I understand both sides of that debate, I think there is an essential flaw with the debate itself. That flaw is the idea that anyone should be “blamed” at this point in the calendar.
Would it be ideal for Mack to be at the mandatory minicamp? Of course. Is him missing mandatory minicamp likely to have an impact on next season? No.
Mack not being signed at this point of the year doesn’t have anything to do with him being selfish or the Raiders failing to move things along. If anyone is to “blame” for how slowly things are moving, fans should direct their attention to Southern California and the Rams.
What’s going on with Mack’s contract is a simple waiting game. It’s a casualty of the circumstances that the Raiders and Mack find themselves in right now. It’s just the unlucky fact that two of the best defenders in the NFL happens to be coming up for an extension at the same time. Because of that, neither Aaron Donald nor Khalil Mack wants to be the first to sign. Why? Because whoever signs second will use the contract of whoever signs first as the starting point for negotiations and are almost guaranteed to get more than whoever signs first.
Now, if Mack ends up missing time during training camp, people can start to worry and start to discuss whether or not someone is to blame. But at this point, I don’t believe there is anything abnormal or concerning about the fact that Mack is holding out. This is how things work in the NFL. We’ve seen this before and we will see it again long after Mack has signed his new deal with the Raiders.
So if you’re looking to blame someone for Mack not being signed, I would say to either focus your anger at the free market system or else look to blame the Rams for not getting Donald’s deal done last year.