Jon Gruden, Reggie McKenzie and the Oakland Raiders stunned everyone Saturday when they traded star defensive end Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears for a package of draft picks, including two first-round selections.
Mack is one of the best defensive players in the NFL, so it was a shock for a Raiders team that expects to contend for a Super Bowl to deal arguably its best player. He and the Raiders were in the middle of a contract standoff that appeared to have no end in sight unless Oakland was willing to give the pass-rusher the hefty contract he desired.
Gruden addressed the trade Sunday, and he made things a whole lot more confusing while explaining why the deal happened.
“They’re trying to divide us,” Gruden said, via ESPN while addressing reports that he and McKenzie had differing opinions on whether or not they should keep Mack. “People are trying to divide us: ‘I wanted him gone, he wanted him here.’ We made a decision as an organization. (Owner) Mark Davis, (executive) Tom Delaney, we all got the information and we made a decision, together. And I’ll just say what (Reggie) said — I read what he said yesterday — it’s a decision that we all came to.
“I know there’s maybe some feeling that maybe I was involved in a day-to-day negotiation. I had nothing to do with it. We were at a standoff and something had to happen, and here we are.”
Mack was set to make $13.8 million this season…