Khalil Mack trade takeaways: Brandon Staley’s influence all over Chargers’ move

Chicago Bears outside linebacker Khalil Mack walks off the field in October.
The presence of Khalil Mack (52) opposite Joey Bosa is going to make the Chargers’ pass rush scary.
(Kamil Krzaczynski / Associated Press)

The Chargers are trading for three-time All-Pro edge rusher Khalil Mack, who spent the last four seasons with the Chicago Bears after starting his career with the Raiders.

Three takeaways on what the acquisition means for the Chargers’ defense.

Staley’s impact: This trade says plenty about head coach Brandon Staley’s influence on personnel. Entering his second season, Staley’s voice quickly has become a dominant one for this franchise.

That’s not suggest he’s making the decisions over general manager Tom Telesco, but Staley definitely is wielding major caché.


In attempting to mold this defense into something that more closely resembles his vision, Staley was able to acquire a piece that will fit perfectly from Day 1.

With Russell Wilson headed to the Broncos, the AFC West is a Mt. Rushmore of quarterbacks: Wilson, Justin Herbert, Patrick Mahomes and Derek Carr.

March 8, 2022

Chargers on the blitz: With Staley involved in the decision making, this move feels like a new dawn for the Chargers.

Telesco has spoken repeatedly in recent weeks about the team being aggressive this offseason because of its cap space. Dealing for a player of Mack’s ability before the arrival of free agency is big-time aggressive.

The fact it did not cost the Chargers a first-round draft pick (the compensation is a second-rounder this year and sixth-rounder in 2023) is an opportunity seized by a team no longer content to wait for the opening of the free market.

The Rams turned “all-in” into a Super Bowl march in 2021. The Chargers might have just launched their own “all-in” campaign.

Wide receiver Mike Williams credits the Chargers’ coaching staff for increasing his role and and his reward is a new contract with the team.

March 9, 2022

Reunion time: The deal reunites Staley and the 31-year-old Mack, who were together in 2018 with the Bears, Staley then serving as Mack’s position coach.


That was Mack’s most recent All-Pro season. He finished with 12½ sacks and was second to Aaron Donald in voting for the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Playing opposite Joey Bosa, Mack gives the Chargers a dynamic pair of edge rushers in an AFC West division that features Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson and Derek Carr as the Chargers’ opposing quarterbacks.