The big trades keep coming in the NFL as the Chicago Bears sent star outside linebacker Khalil Mack to the Los Angeles Chargers for a 2022 second-round pick and a 2023 sixth-round pick, as first reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on Thursday.
It’s the second time in four years that Mack has been traded — the Raiders sending him to Chicago before the 2018 season.
The Chargers will take all of Mack’s remaining contract, which is at $63.9 million over the next three seasons, where he now creates one of the most fearsome pass rushes in the NFL alongside Joey Bosa, who accrued 10.5 sacks in 16 games last season.
While Mack is still considered as a top pass rusher around the league — he posted 72.5 sacks from 2015-2021 with the Raiders and Bears, which ranks fourth-most in the NFL during that span — there might be some uncertainty regarding just how effective he’ll be in 2022. His 2021 with the Bears was cut short to just seven games when he was forced to undergo season-ending foot surgery in Nov. He still was able to put up six sacks in those seven games.
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But in a system where he won’t necessarily have to carry the pressure of being the outright pass-rushing leader, Mack will be afforded the time to find his footing in Los Angeles.
The Chargers are looking to take the next step toward playoff contention, having just missed out on the last day of the regular season in an overtime loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. The future of their offense is firmly in place in quarterback Justin Herbert, but the defense was in need of a major spark. Despite having Bosa, the Chargers ranked 20th in the NFL last season with 35 sacks and will need more pressure to rattle some of the other quarterbacks in the AFC West including Mack’s former Raiders teammate, Derek Carr, Kansas City Chiefs superstar Patrick Mahomes, and Russell Wilson, who was picked up on Tuesday by the Denver Broncos in the first big blockbuster of the NFL’s offseason.