NAPA – Khalil Mack was absent for the start of training camp, with no timeline to return from a holdout designed to expedite a big money, long-term contract extension.
The two-time All-Pro wants to practice with teammates. The Raiders front office and coaching staff wants him in wine country posthaste.
A value gap prevents that from happening.
Mack's representation is demanding the top dollar someone of the edge rusher's caliber and production deserves. The Raiders clearly don't agree on the numbers or structure currently exchanged.
There's no telling when a deal is reached but a source said earlier this week a pact is not close.
Mack is working out hard on his own, but hasn't been in steady contract with the coaching staff. Too much was made of a Thursday report stating Mack and Jon Gruden hadn't spoken even once since the head coach was hired in January.
That isn't exactly true. It isn't as important as some think. It definitely isn't a cause for friction.
"Re-consider what you call drama," Gruden said after Friday's training camp practice at the Napa Valley Marriott. "I've talked to Khalil. I talked to Mack when I got the job, I just haven't talked to him lately. There's not much to talk about right now. Sorry."
Mack has staying quiet during negotiations, both with the press and in direct interaction with team officials. Joel Segal is his agent for a reason, to handle the business side of his job. As a point of procedure, contract negotiations occur between Segal and Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie, with input from salary cap guru Tom Delaney and chief counsel Dan Ventrelle.
While it's a collaborative effort between front office powers and Gruden holds final say on personnel, he is not involved in contract talks. He is busy leading a team into important training camp.
"I'm coaching the team," Gruden said. "I'm going to run the quarterback meetings and install the plays and get ready for the next practice. (GM Reggie McKenzie) will be able to update you on Mack's situation. He has been in contact with Mack's representation. Hopefully we get him in here soon. He's an exciting player, one of the best in football."
Mack remains in touch with friends on the team, including quarterback Derek Carr. Those two are tight, and have been since the Raiders selected them both in the 2014 NFL draft.
"I have been in contact with him," Carr said. "He's my brother. … We want him back, but I don't step into (the business side). He came over to the house and we didn't talk about it one time. We played pool basketball and I dunked on him."