Chargers Need to Cut or Trade the Khalil Mack Contract
Los Angeles Chargers pass-rusher Khalil Mack has been one of the best players at his position for the majority of his NFL career. However, Mack turned 32 at the end of February, and his production isn’t what it used to be. With two seasons and a lot of money left on the Khalil Mack contract, the 2023 NFL offseason is the time for the Chargers to cut ties with the star and either trade him or cut him.
The Khalil Mack contract
Not many football players become top-five NFL draft picks out of SUNY Buffalo, but not many players are Khalil Mack.
The Florida native started his career in 2014 as the No. 5 pick of the then-Oakland Raiders and put up 4.0 sacks that season. The following year, Mack broke out with 15.0 sacks, making the first of his seven Pro Bowls and three All-Pro teams. The next season he won NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
Despite his dominance, teams have traded Mack twice. First, he went from the Raiders to the Chicago Bears (in 2018) and then to the LA Chargers (in 2022).
Thanks to the latest trade, the pass-rusher is still under the last big Khalil Mack contract he signed back in 2018.
That deal was a six-year, $141,000,000 contract with the Bears that included a $34,000,000 signing bonus, $90,000,000 guaranteed, and an average annual value of $23,500,000.
In 2023, Mack will have a $17,200,000 base salary, a $5,500,000 roster bonus, and a $200,000 workout bonus. His cap hit will be $27,400,000 with a dead cap figure of $9,000,000. He also has another year on that pact with a $27,750,000 cap hit in 2024.
With the Chargers’ current salary cap situation, Mack’s time in LA should be coming to an end.
Can the Chargers trade Khalil Mack?
The Chargers currently have the fourth-worst salary cap situation in the NFL heading into the 2023 offseason. The team has a $-19,922,446 balance, and that’s before giving franchise quarterback Justin Herbert a massive extension (possibly) this offseason.
Since the Khalil Mack contract has a $27,400,000 and $9,000,000 in dead cap, cutting or trading him would save the team $18.4 million.
Those savings would be huge for the cap-strapped AFC West squad.
Mack is still a good player, and he was a key cog in the Chargers’ playoff defense in 2022. However, he just turned 32 and isn’t the dominant force he once was.
The pass-rusher had a solid 8.0 sack season in 2022, but he hasn’t recorded double-digit QB takedowns since 2018. Mack also missed 10 games in 2021 with foot surgery. He rebounded to play all 17 games in 2022, but that type of injury has to concern the team as the player gets older.
In the end, the Chargers are already paying Joey Bosa, J.C. Jackson, and Derwin James big money on that side of the ball. Of those players, Mack is the oldest and most replaceable in the 2023 NFL Draft.
If the Chargers can trade the Khalil Mack contract and get something for him, they should. If not, it is time to cut him and save that money for Herbert in the future.