The Los Angeles Rams made an earnest bid to trade for defensive end Khalil Mack before he was shipped from the Oakland Raiders to the Chicago Bears over the weekend, COO Kevin Demoff said.
“We offered a pretty aggressive package, and (the Raiders) came back and said, ‘We just think you’re going to pick too low (in future drafts),’” Demoff told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday. The Rams’ first-round pick in 2017 fell at No. 23 after they went 11-5, and they remain in position to contend moving forward.
It’s unclear what the Rams offered the Raiders, but the Bears — who picked eighth in the 2018 draft after going 5-11 last year — acquired Mack for two first-round picks, while swapping a third-rounder for a second-rounder. To consummate the trade, they gave Mack a record-setting six-year, $141 million deal.
It’s also unclear how much the Rams — who gave defensive tackle Aaron Donald a six-year, $135 million extension one day before Mack was traded — would have been willing to pay Mack, or whether a trade to L.A. could have been completed without an extension. While the Rams still have significant cap space in future seasons, acquiring and retaining Mack long-term would have required dedicating around $45 million annually to two defensive players, assuming Mack wouldn’t take a discount.
Such a trade would have paired the last two Defensive Player of the Year winners, as Donald won in 2017 and Mack took the honor in 2016. It also would have immediately pitted Mack against his former team, as the Rams visit the Raiders on Monday night for their regular-season opener.
The Rams have very aggressive pursuing star-level talent this offseason, having signed defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in addition to acquiring Brandin Cooks, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib via trades. Before trading for Cooks, they were rumored to have interest in dealing for New York Giants wideout Odell Beckham Jr.
Acquiring Cooks from the New England Patriots cost the Rams their 2018 first-round pick, after they traded their 2018 second-rounder to the Buffalo Bills for wideout Sammy Watkins last August. They are also without their 2019 second-rounder, which was used to acquire Peters from the Kansas City Chiefs, although the team should garner two third-round compensatory picks for the departures of Watkins and cornerback Trumaine Johnson via free agency.
Los Angeles gave lucrative extensions to Cooks, running back Todd Gurley — whose deal set records at his position — and right tackle Rob Havenstein this summer before extending Donald. Peters is scheduled to be a free agent after 2019.
—Field Level Media