The Los Angeles Chargers bolstered their defense by acquiring linebacker and edge rusher Khalil Mack in a trade with the Chicago Bears.
Linebacker Kahlil Mack from the Chicago Bears nearly sacks Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr at Soldier Field. (Image: Chris Unger/Getty)
The Bears agreed to trade Mack to the Chargers in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, and a sixth-rounder in 2023. This is the first major move by newly-minted general manager Ryan Poles. The Bears were able to shed a huge chunk of salary in 2022 and over $63 million over the next three seasons.
Mack, 31, went to the Pro Bowl six times and was an All-Pro three times. He played the last four seasons with the Bears after spending the first four seasons of his career with the Oakland Raiders.
Mack had a hot start to the 2021 season with six sacks in the first seven games before season-ending foot surgery prematurely ended what could’ve been a sensational season.
The LA Chargers are +2500 odds to win Super Bowl 57, according to a recent update by DraftKings.
Staley and Mack Reunion
The Chargers need help on defense. They cannot expect Justin Herbert to win games in a shootout for them every Sunday. Mack will be teamed up with Joey Bosa to vastly improve their stagnant defensive line. The Chargers were ranked #30 in the NFL in rushing defense allowing opponents to rack up 139 yards per game against their porous D-line.
Head coach Brandon Staley joined the Chargers last season after spending time with the LA Rams as their defensive coordinator. The defensive guru spent time as the linebackers coach with the Chicago Bears, and Staley and Mack will be reunited with the Chargers.
“I learned a lot more from Khalil Mack than he learned from me,” said Staley. “I drew a lot of confidence being able to coach a guy like him and I think that that first season in Chicago and that first experience, I felt like, you know, I could do this someday.”
In Mack’s first season with the Bears, he recorded 12.5 sacks and he was edged out in the Defensive Player of the Year voting and finished in second place.
Mack: OAK > CHI > LA
Mack played his collegiate ball at Buffalo in the MAC. He tore up the conference as the 2013 MAC Defensive Player of the Year with 10.5 sacks in 13 games.
The Raiders took a flier on Mack and selected him fifth overall in the 2014 NFL Draft. After a bumpy rookie year, Mack flourished with 15 sacks in 2015. He became one of the most feared linebackers the next few seasons. Mack tallied 11 sacks in 2016, and 10.5 sacks in 2017.
In 2018, Mack decided to hold out when contract negotiations stalled with the Raiders. Jon Gruden traded Mack to the Bears prior to the start of the season for two first-round picks.
The Bears signed Mack to a contract extension which made him the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history at the time. Mack got a six-year extension worth $141 million with $90 million of that guaranteed.
The Chargers will be on the hook for the final three seasons of that deal. Mack will earn $17.75 million this upcoming season, including a $5.5 million roster bonus. His salary increases to $22.9 million in 2023, then to $23.5 million in 2024.
Trading Khalil Mack
New Team Acquires
2024: $23.25M#Bears Dead Cap
2022: $24M ($6.15M saved)
Mack has a $5.5M roster bonus due next Friday. No future guarantees exist.https://t.co/bZHTdV9grb
— Spotrac (@spotrac) March 10, 2022