Back in 2018, the Las Vegas Raiders (then in Oakland) were unable to agree on a new contract with star pass rusher Khalil Mack. The All-Pro and former Defensive Player of the Year would holdout the entire preseason and eventually, the Raiders dealt him in a massive trade to the Chicago Bears.
While he wound up in Chicago, there were obviously plenty of suitors looking to trade for Mack at that time and one of them was the San Francisco 49ers. The team was very interested in acquiring Mack, but the Raiders chose to go elsewhere, and the now-Chargers pass rusher has his ideas on why.
In an appearance on Green Light with Chris Long, Mack said that he believes the 49ers made the best trade offer to the Raiders, but the franchise didn’t want to send him to a team with that much potential to be a great defense via Taylor Wirth of NBC Sports Bay Area:
“And then you see they sent me to Chicago, which perceivably was supposed to be the worse option,” Mack said. “I thought San Fran was one of the top offers. I feel like they offered technically the best deal but they wouldn’t take it from San Fran because they knew the potential of what could be or what could happen.”
At the time the 49ers were just beginning to build up under new head coach Kyle Shanahan and GM John Lynch and acquiring a player like Mack to build their defense around would have been huge. Perhaps the Raiders didn’t want to help out their Bay Area rivals by trading them someone of Mack’s caliber and then watching them go on to great success, and Mack believes that is exactly what happened.
It is also what the Niners themselves believe happened as Lynch has spoken in the past about his belief that they made the best trade offer for Mack at that time.
But just because they believe that is the case doesn’t make it so for the Raiders. In their minds, they felt that the offer from Chicago was better and it is in the Raiders’ best interest, when acquiring draft picks, to go with the team that they expect to be worse in the near future as that benefits them and gets them better picks.
In the end, it all worked out as the 49ers had a terrible 2018 but were able to draft Nick Bosa in the ensuing draft and immediately make a Super Bowl run.