Packers’ offer not enough to land linebacker Khalil Mack, who ends up with Bears

September 2, 2018

GREEN BAY — The day he took the job as the Green Bay Packers general manager, Brian Gutekunst vowed to be more aggressive and explore every avenue to improve his team.

“We want to be in it and we want to be in the know of everything that’s going on. And, if it makes sense for us, not to be afraid,” Gutekunst said that January day. “We have to be prepared enough to pull the trigger.”

As promised, Gutekunst and the Packers weren’t afraid to pursue former NFL defensive player of the year Khalil Mack or pull the trigger on a trade to land him Saturday.

The only problem? The Chicago Bears made a more attractive trade offer to the Oakland Raiders, and now the Packers will be seeing him twice a year in the NFC North.

The Raiders wound up shipping their holdout star defensive end to the Bears in a trade Saturday morning, with the Bears sending their 2019 and 2020 first-round draft picks to the Raiders, along with a 2020 third-round pick and a 2019 sixth-round pick, according to ESPN and the NFL Network.

In return, the Bears got Mack, a 2020 second-round round pick and a conditional 2020 fifth-round pick back from Oakland.

The Packers have two first-round picks in next year’s NFL draft — their own, plus the New Orleans Saints’ — but an NFL source said the Packers’ offer to the Raiders did not include both 2019 first-round picks. Instead, it was for one of the first-rounders plus other picks, the source said.

The fact that the Bears got Oakland’s 2020 second-round pick back lessens the impact of being without two first-rounders the next two years, but while the Packers’ offer may have been competitive, it apparently wasn’t as appealing as the Bears’ offer was.

By day’s end, the Bears and Mack had come to terms on what ESPN and NFL Network reported as a six-year, $141 million contract extension that included $90 million in guaranteed money.

Having lost out on Mack, the Packers now must figure out how to augment their edge-rushing group. They cut two outside linebackers from last year’s roster (ex-University of Wisconsin standout Vince Biegel and Chris Odom) as well as their only draft pick at the position — rookie seventh-round pick Kendall Donnerson.

The team also did not add an edge rusher in free agency.

Last week, coach Mike McCarthy had said the Packers would like to have six or seven outside linebackers on the roster. As it stands, they have just four.

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