Alex Mack contract offer likely won’t stop Browns from matching

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Now that some of the terms regarding the offer sheet Alex Mack soon will sign in Jacksonville have trickled out, predictions regarding the Browns’ next step are emerging.

Per one league source with knowledge of the team’s thinking, the Browns will likely match the offer.

With the average value of the contract being lower than what Mack would get under the transition tag for 2014 and transition/franchise tag in 2015, the deal allows the Browns to keep Mack for at least two years for, at most, $20 million.  Keeping Mack for two years under the tag would cost $22 million.

It’s a given Mack wants to leave Cleveland.  But if that’s the case, he should have taken the $10 million for 2014, hoping the Browns wouldn’t pay $12 million to a center in 2015.

If the Browns match the offer, Mack will have at least two more years in Cleveland.  And while the notion that Mack doesn’t want to be in Cleveland could prompt the Browns to consider not forcing Mack to stick around, most teams don’t like to let the employees dictate the terms of employment.  If Mack can get out because he simply says he wants out, who’s next?  Joe Thomas?  Joe Haden?  Josh Gordon?  Brandon Weeden?  (Oh, wait.)

From a P.R. standpoint, it will be much easier for the Browns to sell matching the offer than not matching it.  Matching the offer actually saves some money under the two-year tag scenario and extends Mack’s stay, possibly long enough to get him to decide to stay even longer, once he sees that stability has crept into Cleveland.

Not matching the offer will entail explaining why the Browns were willing to pay Mack $10 million under the no-compensation transition tag but not $11.6 million under the two-first-round-picks franchise tag, which would have scared the Jaguars and everyone else away.

While it may make more sense from a football standpoint to let Mack go, plenty of decisions aren’t made based solely or even primarily on football considerations.  The Browns have been mired in a sea of dysfunction; losing Mack via a miscalculation regarding the transition/franchise tag will be viewed as the latest tidal wave.

36 responses to “Alex Mack contract offer likely won’t stop Browns from matching

  1. If you are going to let him go now, then it makes more football sense to figure this out in advance and trade him last year or the year before while he was on a lower salary and had more trade value. They didn’t win with him so they were better off trading him rather than taking the option to let him walk for nothing in return. These decisions are always maximized for the best football value when you think about them in advance and don’t wait until you get handcuffed into choosing an inefficient exit strategy. It’s standard business 101, but these owners don’t run their football teams like shrewd businesses, they run them fueled by emotions, ego, and overconfidence and that’s why things get a little silly and don’t seem to make sense very often.

  2. 1) Sign him. 2) Trade him.

    Maybe to Jacksonville. Get the same compensation you would have gotten minus a little.

    Trade him next off-season as another option.

  3. The Browns will have 20% of their cap tied up in 2 offensive linemen. They are the Browns for a reason.

  4. Alex, I have supported you all along on this but Jacksonville? really? Jacksonville? this is all your genious agent could come up with?
    You are frustrated at the constant change and uncertainty in Cleveland. new coaches, front office. OK I get that. so you do a deal with that model of stability .. Jacksonville??
    Fact is the Browns flew their entire front office including the owner to Calif to meet with you and your agent. Made you a long term offer that would have made you the highest paid center in the league and your agent told them to shove it, then pitched a hissy fit when they transitioned you. I’m sure your reps sold you on multiple offers from super bowl contenders rolling in. Well they got you Jacksonville.

  5. This is a Classic confrontation. Great job by Jacksonville in putting Cleveland’s feet to the fire and in serving notice to the NFL that they are serious in building a winner.

    If he comes to Jax, great; if not, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

  6. He is an above average center. People thinking he is the second coming of Dermontti Dawson are way off. There are better centers in the NFL right now.

  7. Jax makes an offer that Cleveland gladly matches…they don’t want to lose the guy for no compensation. Mack doesn’t want to be there, Cleveland understands that. Cleveland’s top rated QB is sitting there at #3….Jax is QB hungry too and is about to take said QB but is secretly looking to draft Watkins or Mack (the “other” Mack, DE) who would obviously be there if Jax and Cleveland trade picks. Draft day trade…swap picks and give up Mack and his new contract so Cleveland can get their next doomed QB and not have to give up any draft picks to do so. Well played Caldwell…well played.

  8. That draft pick trade scenario makes zero sense. Also, both front offices would probably be accused of collusion.

  9. I understand wanting out of Cleveland, but is Jacksonville really the answer? It’s a little warmer but you’re not getting any closer to a superbowl…

  10. It makes perfect sense if Cleveland covets a certain QB bad enough they feel they need to trade up for. Give up the player that’s overpaid and wants out or give up a draft pick?

  11. The guy is miserable in Cleveland and wants to to go to Jacksonville, let him go. I don’t think the Jags are going to give any type of draft pick for him if the Browns are going to sign and then try to get something from us. Jacksonville’s arrow is pointing up. Cleveland, well, their arrow is just hanging there like a limp…noodle.

  12. He wants to play in Cleveland, he said it himself yesterday. He just wants more cash the deal is reported to be 9 mill a year which is cheaper for the Brownies. Go Browns

  13. Sign Mack and then trade him to one of Jags’ divisional opponents….for a second round pick. That gives the Browns 2 picks in each of the first 3 rounds.

  14. Not once have we heard from Mack that he wants out of Cleveland. It’s his agent “leaking” this stuff to the sports reporters. Not once have we heard it from Mack though.

    Jacksonville? really? With 12,000 in the stands and weekly TV blackouts? Wait, since he lives in LA, maybe they told him something about their future plans!!!!!

  15. It’s hilarious that fans of the most dysfunctional team in the league are trying to poke fun at ANY other team. Cleveland will always be Cleveland…miserable city with a hopeless football team. At least the Jags arrow is pointing up. And look up the attendance figures sometime. Even our terrible teams have put more people in the stands than some much bigger markets with much better teams. Pot, meet kettle.

  16. Take the cavs titles multiplied by browns Super Bowl trips multiplied by tribe titles last 65 years. U get zero or 1 less than how many times the browns have moved from that cess pool Believeland

  17. Up as in another W against your brownies this year…up as in a stable owner who won’t be running his team from behind bars in the near future, a GM who knows what he’s doing and a respected head coach that players WANT to play for. You know…overall stability. Chances are you don’t know what stability is if you’ve been a Cleveland fan for very long though.

  18. People think the browns misplayed this, but if they wanted to keep Mack long term then this was probably the best way. If the Browns franchised him they pay him a ton of money this year, he’d receive no outside interest from another team, and they’d have to repeat this next year but with even less leverage. I’m sure they could have traded him in the past, but probably not for a high enough draft pick to replace a pro bowler. By giving him the transition tag there was a reasonably high chance that he’d sign an offer sheet and the browns can lock him up long term if they choose to match it. You can argue that they’ll be paying a center too much, but for now the browns need to pay above market price to either keep or attract quality players that can choose where they want to play.

  19. So many negative comments towards Mack. He is mired in a city where the fans don’t know football. This is obviously evidenced by continued sellouts of games despite the awful product being put on the field. The Cleveland fans celebrate every Browns move and decision as if it is the final successful piece to the Super Bowl puzzle. Meanwhile, in reality, the Browns only win a few games every year. These are the same fans that are elated that the Browns focused on, not filling holes this offseason, but replacing the good players they already had. Mack also sees that the Browns are still sitting there with the most free agency money despite promising to spend it this offseason. Haslam’s continued lies and ineptitude. Until Browns fans change their understanding of success, and start demanding a better product, players like Mack will leave and young, quality free agents won’t come here. Unfortunately, Cleveland doesn’t know what success looks like to ask for it. Browns fans have to start holding themselves accountable instead of blaming anyone or anything else on the continued failure.

  20. I don’t think there’s any way Cleveland signs and then trades him. If they do that, his entire signing bonus goes against their salary cap.

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