NFL Teams make the wrong decision sometimes. It’s inevitable. Others then want to make fun of these decisions. This is about the Las Vegas Raiders and their bad decision to not trade with the San Francisco 49ers.
Back in 2018, the 49ers were involved in the Khalil Mack sweepstakes. Mack, a Raiders defensive lineman was up for a massive contract extension. An extension the Raiders were not going to give him. So, as he held out during the 2018 preseason, the Raiders started shopping him around. The 49ers got quite aggressive with an offer in place but in the end, the Chicago Bears swooped in and won the trade, leaving the 49ers holding onto the pick that would select Nick Bosa the following year.
So what happened? Mack was on Chris Long’s Green Light podcast and explained the the 49ers had the better offer, but the Raiders decided to get cute with draft picks and went with Chicago thinking they would get a higher draft position:
“And then you see they sent me to Chicago, which perceivably was supposed to be the worse option out of the few, I think it was a couple more teams that pitched...I thought San Fran was one of the top offers. They offered two first round picks and some players, it was technically the best deal but they wouldn’t take it from San Fran because they knew the potential of what could be or what could happen. Especially record-wise they want you to have a worst record and have a top-pick ”
This isn’t exactly shocking or breaking news. Back during the 2018 Khalil Mack sweepstakes, it was speculated the Raiders wanted a high first round pick and didn’t think the 49ers would have it after they dealt Mack to a team that had won their last five games to close out what was otherwise a miserable 2017 season. 49ers GM John Lynch even said he felt he made the better offer. So, thinking the 49ers would be picking later in the 2019 draft (Mack was traded at the start of the 2018 season), the Raiders made the deal with Chicago. This does, however, confirm a lot of what was said in 2018 by John Lynch. Lynch himself said he felt he made the better offer but the Bears went another direction.
Of course that year, the Bears went to the playoffs and the 49ers received the 2nd overall pick. A pick used to select Nick Bosa who just inked an extension making him the highest defensive player in the league. A pick that no doubt would have been part of the Mack trade to start the season.
Now, had the 49ers won the Khalil Mack sweepstakes, it’s a good assumption they wouldn’t be picking second. Even if everything played out the identically, including Jimmy Garoppolo going down with his knee injury in Week 3 they would have won another game or two. Not much, but enough that the Raiders wouldn’t have been able to select Bosa without trading up some capital. Regardless, had the Raiders gone with the 49ers’ offer, they’d definitely have better positioning than the Bears.
The Raiders instead did the deal with Chicago and sent Mack to a team that went to the playoffs, leaving them stuck picking in the 20s. The 49ers went and selected Nick Bosa. The Raiders used their own first round pick (No. 4 overall) to select Clelin Ferrell (who happens to be on the 49ers now) and used Chicago’s pick to take running back Josh Jacobs. Not terrible, but not a fair enough trade at the time for Khalil Mack. Because the Bears got Khalil Mack.
So another botched trade/draft mishap worked out for the 49ers in the end. And this time it’s not a trade that left the 49ers as the laughing stock of the league in any capacity as things worked themselves out.