Oakland Raiders

Khalil Mack will soon be highest-paid non-QB in NFL

Oakland Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack (52) scores his first touchdown in the 2nd quarter and leaps into the Black Hole during the Oakland Raiders game versus the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, November 27, 2016, at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, Calif. (Photo by Paul Kuroda/ZUMA Wire/Icon Sportswire)
Paul Kuroda/ZUMA Wire/Icon Sportswire

Khalil Mack is one step closer to becoming a very rich man.

The Oakland Raiders made the obvious choice to pick up the reigning defensive player of the year’s 2018 option on Thursday. Think of it as a place holder while they iron out the kinks in quarterback Derek Carr and offensive guard Gabe Jackson’s new deals.

They’ll need the best accountant money can buy to compute the ridiculous numbers that are likely to come from Mack’s future long-term extension. The pay scale in the NFL heavily favors pass rushers, and Mack was no doubt the best in the business last season. He is expected to the highest paid defensive player in the NFL.

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt currently sits atop the league at that position with a six-year deal worth more than $100 million. The thinking here is that Mack will easily clear Watt’s number in what could be as long as a seven-year deal. Somewhere in the ballpark of $110-to-$120 million sounds about right for an extension, but Spotrac is estimating the deal will be much higher than that.

They are projecting Mack’s average annual salary will sit at $20.7 million for a seven-year deal worth more than $145 million per year. The former fifth overall pick is about to be bathing in green.

It’s hard to argue that isn’t worth it. Mack has been an unstoppable force in a defense that came up short more often than not last year.

“He’s in a class of his own,” Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said last year, according to CSN Bay Area. “I’m not saying he’s better than anybody, through I think he is. I think he is the best football player I’ve ever played with and seen. I think he’s done things that no one has ever seen before. I don’t want to put him in a box. The sky’s the limit for him.”

Mack’s award-winning season ended with 11 sacks, 73 tackles, 1 interception, 5 forced fumbles and 3 recoveries and 3 pass deflections. He always seemed to be at the right place at the right time every time there was a play to be made.

“The guy’s a walking Hall of Famer, the best in the business,” Mack’s teammate Bruce Irvin said. “I’m blessed to be able to suit up with him week in and week out.”

Mack has only been in the league for three years, and he is about to reshape the pay scale on defense.

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