There are some factors that show that the Raiders will be much better than they were a year ago, but the games are played on the field, and not on paper. "Brian Gutekunst did little to extinguish any of the Khalil Mack to the Packers trade speculation when he spoke of his friendship with Raiders General Manager Reggie Mckenzie and said that he is open to conversations with other teams and that he and Reggie are ".going to kind of have conversations about everything". Most Raiders fans shudder to think how the unit would have performed without Mack.
He might not get all of the money he wants, he might not be thrilled, the Raiders might not be too happy, either, but I believe there are no glaring indications that Mack will be an ex-Raider, or pushed to the brink, or still holding out at that point. The reality is that it is never a fiscally responsible decision to acquire a player that will demand the salary allocation and draft capital that Mack demands. Establishing fair value for him is going to be an extremely hard matter for the Raiders. They still have an elite quarterback in Derek Carr, and if Khalil Mack would hurry up and get to camp already, they will have one of the two best defensive players in all of football. Ideally, the Raiders could obtain a pair of first-round draft picks as a part of any deal for Mack.
They followed that move with a trade for Aqib Talib of the Denver Broncos. It would be nice if it were a pass rusher that could help replace some of the void Mack will create upon his departure, but that shouldn't be a deal breaker. They need only be concerned with getting a significant return if they let Mack go. While it's hard to imagine the Raiders shipping one of the most dominant players in his position today - not to mention one who is only 27 - a team with enough resources and a spacious future cap space could come into play and coax Oakland into giving up the former fifth-pick overall.