Looking for the catalyst of the Oakland Raiders’ massive haul this offseason, a spree in which they landed 20 new players and re-signed 12 of their own while doling out almost $110 million in guaranteed money to four players?
Coach Jon Gruden has an inkling, even if, as he says, it pains him and Khalil Mack fans to say it. Yes, the trade of the All-Pro edge rusher on Sept. 1 in the middle of Mack’s holdout netted not only a gaggle of draft picks and salary-cap space, but also some intriguing hardware.nike nfl jerseys cheap china
“I’m not going to sit here and say that I didn’t cry for three days,” Gruden said at last month’s NFL owners meetings. “I wanted to coach Mack. And Mack knows it. Wish him the best, but we have a lot of work to do with this football team, and that trade allowed these acquisitions that we’re talking about today to even happen.”
Though the move was derided by fans and media alike — even as Raiders owner Mark Davis later said Mack had broken off communication with the team during the holdout and did not want to return to Oakland despite the team twice offering him a contract that would have made him the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL — the trade also caught the attention of the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference at MIT. And last month, the group feted the Raiders with the “Best Transaction” award, referring to the Mack trade as the “best move any franchise made in 2018 in any sport” while being lauded by Richard Thaler, the 2017 Nobel Prize winner for economics.
Call the whole thing funny math, because Mack did eventually get the massive contract he wanted from the Chicago Bears, a $141 million deal with $90 million guaranteed — a record for a defensive player.
Asked about the Best Transaction award, Gruden grimaced.
“I think it was the only award we got last year,” he spit out, referencing the Raiders’ 4-12 teardown season two years after they went 12-4 and played in the postseason.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china
“But forget about all that. I don’t really have time to worry about who thinks it’s right or wrong. We didn’t really have much of a choice. If we did come up with the money to make the contract happen last year, we wouldn’t have any of these men we’re talking about right now.”