Derek Carr — like many others on the Oakland Raiders — didn’t expect Khalil Mack to be traded this weekend.
Mack, who had been holding out from camp for a more lucrative deal from the Raiders, was traded to the Chicago Bears for four future draft picks on Saturday. Mack then locked down a six-year, $141 million deal with $90 million guaranteed with the Bears, making him the highest paid defensive player in NFL history.
And while he was surprised that the 2016 Defensive Player of the Year has landed with a new team, Carr said on Monday that they’ve had to move on quickly.
“It isn’t what anybody wanted,” Carr told ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez on Monday. “I think that’s clear.
“But it is what it is — it’s part of the business. It’s one of those sucky things that happen. The hardest part for me is, obviously, you lose a good football player, but he’s my brother, man. He’s one of my best friends. I think the hardest part is, I don’t get to see my friend every day.”
Mack and Carr were both picked up by the Raiders in the 2014 NFL draft, and helped turn the once-struggling Raiders program around. While they went just 6-10 last season, the Raiders reached the Wild Card round of the playoffs in 2016 — the first time since 2002 — and finished with a 12-4 record.
While he said it wasn’t easy at the start — especially learning of the deal on a day off — Carr said the team hasn’t had an option but to move forward. They open the season on Monday night against the Los Angeles Rams, and don’t really have time to focus much on what went down.
Getting to focus on Monday night helps, too.
“I think, obviously, we had the day off that day and so that made it harder because I’m just sitting there thinking about it all day. Whereas now, I’ve got a job to do,” Carr told ESPN. “Once we showed up and got to work, Coach addressed it with the team, said what he said, invited anyone who needed to talk to him, open door. He understood that a lot of us were close with him.
“It didn’t go away, because he’s your buddy, but at the same time it went away because we have a game to get ready for.”
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