Fooch’s update: Never mind.
In news that should surprise nobody, Jason La Canfora reported late Friday night that the 49ers are one of seven teams interested in trading with the Oakland Raiders for Khalil Mack. La Canfora’s sources sometimes can be questionably, but it would not be surprising for the 49ers to at least be kicking the tires with the Raiders.
Mack has been holding out from training camp in hopes of getting a new contract and some recent rumblings have suggested the Raiders may be trying to move him sooner rather than later. The 49ers desperately need a pass rusher. While their line has been solid in run stopping, they have been unable to get to the quarterback as often as anyone would like this preseason. Mack solves this problem, and combining him with DeForest Buckner and Solomon Thomas (hopefully) could make an absolute beast of a line.
The problem is, Mack won’t come cheap. Earlier this week, reports came out the Raiders were looking for two first round picks to get the conversation going. You also have to factor in the fact Mack is entering the fifth year option on his rookie contract. The team could use the franchise tag, but that’s the whole reason he might be traded in the first place. The 49ers would have to break the bank on top of any draft picks in a trade.
How much of a bank breaking you ask? Well look at that recent Aaron Donald deal to get an idea. Mack is not as good as Donald, but he’ll be looking for a deal moving in that direction. Otherwise, they just gave up a lot of their future for a one-year rental. And it’s a rental that would be coming to the team post-training camp with a need to get ramped up in Robert Saleh’s defense.
The 49ers have been very good with their salary cap surplus, and this would take up a large chunk of it. Also consider the 49ers are preparing for an eventual extension of DeForest Buckner, which won’t come cheap as well.
On the flip side, this move transforms the 49ers defense into a powerhouse, assuming Mack can learn Saleh’s defense in an adequate amount of time. If the team were to get a reasonable extension worked out (depending on your definition of ‘reasonable’) the first round pick that would be used on a pass rusher is already spent on getting one that has proven themselves.
There could be as many as seven other teams involved in this, and one of them is reportedly the Cleveland Browns. No one can predict what they will do or offer ever. It’s not too surprising the 49ers are involved, but how serious they are is anyone’s guess.