The Oakland Raiders have exercised the fifth-year option on All-Pro edge rusher Khalil Mack — the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year — for the 2018 season, the team announced Thursday.
Mack, the No. 5 overall pick of the 2014 draft, is still in line for a hefty contract extension but would earn the average salary of the top 10 players at his position in 2018 if he and the team do not come to an agreement before then.
The Raiders began their offseason training program this week, and Mack was asked how tough it might be to stay focused with contract talks coming.
“That’s the whole point, to stay focused, not even really worry about that,” Mack said. “That stuff will take care of itself. You have agents and those types of people to worry about that for you. That’s the whole point with us, for sure. You can talk about it here and there, the focus really comes down to winning ball games and grinding with your teammates and brothers and making this experience worth a lifetime. You have to approach this season like it’s your last.”
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie has said his offseason priority is extending quarterback Derek Carr, along with right guard Gabe Jackson, while getting Mack situated.
And after cutting defensive tackle Dan Williams on Tuesday, the Raiders, who are still talking with retired running back Marshawn Lynch, have an estimated $32.1 million in salary-cap space.
“Like I said, you’ve got to let all of them do that,” Mack said. “You’ve got to let the big man upstairs [McKenzie] do his job, you’ve got to let your agents do their jobs, and everything will fall in place.”
Mack made history in 2015 by being named first-team All-Pro at two positions — outside linebacker and defensive end — in the same season, racking up 15 sacks. Last year he had 11 sacks, including an eight-game sack streak, and a pick-six with five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.