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Sunday open thread: Should the Detroit Lions have traded for Khalil Mack?

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Did the Lions play it too safe?

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland Raiders Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Before most teams trimmed their roster to 53 players on Saturday, the Chicago Bears shook the NFL world by trading for former Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack. Not only was it shocking to see the Oakland Raiders let Mack go, even though they made it very clear they had no intentions of extending him, but to see the Chicago Bears send a couple of first-round picks their way was crazy. These are the kind of trades that only happen every decade or so.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter was the first to break the exact trade terms of the agreement:

So even though the Bears gave up two first-round picks for Mack, the net total was actually a little less than that. They got a second and potential fifth-round pick back, while only sending a third and sixth away.

Of course, that was just the beginning. After the trade was over, the Bears made Mack the highest paid defensive player in NFL history:

Now looking at this from the Detroit Lions point of view, this is obviously all horrible news. A divisional rival just got one of the best defensive players in the league and will have him around for the better half of a decade. The Lions, meanwhile, have easily the worst front seven in the division and it just got even further behind after this move.

So today’s Question of the Day is:

Should the Lions have made the trade for Khalil Mack?

My answer: Now that we know the exact price for Mack, we can actually debate whether the Lions should have made this move.

A month ago, I asked Pride of Detroit readers if they’d trade two first-round picks and Ezekiel Ansah for Mack, and 58 percent of you said no. Here were my thoughts at the time:

I would think about this kind of trade long and hard, and in the end, I would probably pull the trigger. First-round picks are really hard to give up, because they not only give you a chance at a great player, but one at a discounted rate. But Mack is almost guaranteed to be better than both players, and he plays a position that is both a big weakness on the Lions roster and is extremely hard to come by in the NFL.

So considering this trade is actually less than that, I would’ve been completely fine with the Lions doing it.

But the question remains whether they Lions could have done this. Because the Bears offered him an extension, Mack is still on the final year of his former contract, which comes with a $13.8 million cap hit. The Lions don’t currently have the cap space for that, but they likely could have worked around that if they really wanted to.

The real trick would be trying to fit Mack’s extension into future salary caps. For each of the six years on his new deal, Mack Will carry a cap hit between $22.3 million and $24.55 million. Though the Bears have an easy out after the 2022 season, that’s still a lot of cap to be spending on a defensive player.

If the Lions were to do a similar deal, it would mean no more Golden Tate, no more Ezekiel Ansah, and they’d have a hard time maintaining their offensive line beyond 2019. T.J. Lang, Graham Glasgow and Taylor Decker are all potential free agents in 2020, though the Lions have a fifth-year option for Decker.

All that being said, the Lions’ lack of a pass rush is clearly going to hurt this team in 2018, and there’s no clear plan for the future. Mack would have put those concerns to bed in one fell swoop. Instead, the Lions are left sitting on their hands while the only team they were consistently beating in the division looks like they may have overtaken Detroit in one offseason.

Your turn.

Poll

Would you have pulled off the Khalil Mack trade + extension for the Lions?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    Yes
    (327 votes)
  • 73%
    No
    (910 votes)
1237 votes total Vote Now