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Report: Mack expected to opt out, could still return to Browns

Cincinnati Bengals v Cleveland Browns Getty Images

Browns center Alex Mack is expected to exercise the opt-out clause in his contract, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Monday.

Opting out would make Mack a free agent, but Rapoport said that Mack eventually returning to the Browns on a new contract is “a real possibility.”

A three-time Pro Bowler, Mack would likely demand big money on the open market and has to weigh that against the $8 million he’s scheduled to make from the Browns in 2016. Mack signed a transition tag offer sheet with the Jaguars in 2014 but the Browns matched it to keep him.

That new contract included $26 million guaranteed and the opportunity to opt out of it before 2016. Mack, 30, had never missed a snap before his Oct. 2014 leg injury and returned to start all 16 games last season.

Resolving Mack’s situation isn’t the only big issue the newest Browns regime faces with the offensive line. The Browns have said they’re committed to keeping Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas, who’s under contract but would likely demand at least a first-round pick back in a potential trade. Right tackle Mitchell Schwartz will also become a free agent next month unless he signs a new deal with the Browns before then.

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21 Responses to “Report: Mack expected to opt out, could still return to Browns”
  1. allmyteamsareterrible says: Feb 22, 2016 3:24 PM

    We need both of these guys in Cleveland next year. We have a ton of cap space and a roster limited with talent. Let’s start building a team as opposed to creating more holes. This isn’t complicated. Make it happen Mr. Brown (please).

  2. chawk12thman says: Feb 22, 2016 3:28 PM

    Top 5 money now…..and difference between all of top Centers is very small, relatively speaking……….

    Seems to be a move to get to a contender by Mack…..

  3. dws123 says: Feb 22, 2016 3:31 PM

    Whether Mack is looking for a cash-grab remains to be seen, but I really hope he and the Browns could work something out that will benefit both sides. Can’t say I’m holding my breath, though.

  4. steelerben says: Feb 22, 2016 3:33 PM

    The Browns need to dump money into both of their lines. Skill players come cheap on rookie contracts. If you’re planning on (yet another) first round quarterback, then you’d better have the guys up front to keep him on his feet.

  5. 6250claimer says: Feb 22, 2016 3:35 PM

    Cardinals. Git’r done, Keim!

  6. Big Ant TV says: Feb 22, 2016 3:44 PM

    Lost him walk get a cheaper 4-6 year deal outta a rookie from this draft and if Schwartz wants out or walks then hey guess will try a rookie or unknown vet at center and RT and get this rookie QB drilled as usual

  7. captainwhodat says: Feb 22, 2016 3:47 PM

    …do yourself, your family, your career a favor: opt out…you will have offers…

  8. oldandgrumpy72 says: Feb 22, 2016 3:51 PM

    Why leave the Browns for he Jags? Wouldn’t you want to go somewhere to have a chance at a ring?

  9. pioniere says: Feb 22, 2016 3:56 PM

    If he truly doesn’t care about winning, he should stay where he is.

  10. dumbpollack says: Feb 22, 2016 4:05 PM

    Let’s draft a QB at 2 and then let half the line go. I guess they didn’t Harvard didn’t have a law class on the importance of an O Line especially when breaking in a rookie QB. Who knew?!

  11. granadafan says: Feb 22, 2016 4:14 PM

    Let your best linemen leave and then draft a rookie QB at #2? Um, yeaaaaaaah. If I was that rookie (please don’t be Goff), I’d pull an Eli/ Archie Manning. Who cares if they think you’re a punk.

  12. joefelicelli says: Feb 22, 2016 4:17 PM

    Mack on the open market would be a very interesting situation. The landscape has changed significantly for OL in recent years, and interior guys have been getting paid.

    There are a lot of teams that would be getting an instant upgrade by bringing Mack in. Landscape-altering upgrade to get a player of his caliber.

    Would the Browns offer him a new deal before he opts out, considering their cap space and desire to show the fan base they are committed to keeping their core intact? I would if I were them.

  13. dynastyposeiden says: Feb 22, 2016 4:40 PM

    why would anyone that had a choice play for the cleveland clowns ….

  14. larrygblog says: Feb 22, 2016 4:44 PM don’t know if anyone is leaving the o-line yet nor do you know if they are drafting a qb at number two.let’s give the new front office a chance before pretending you know it all

  15. irishguy55 says: Feb 22, 2016 6:14 PM

    Hello 49ers!!!!

  16. kinkykyle says: Feb 23, 2016 12:09 AM

    Alex is leaving his girlfriend left her job and moved to LA

  17. kahnsbushymustache says: Feb 23, 2016 6:16 AM

    Mack signed once to play in Jacksonville, why wouldn’t he do it again?

  18. joeldholsopple says: Feb 23, 2016 7:28 AM

    Who in their right mind would WANT to play for Cleveland?

  19. RegisHawk says: Feb 23, 2016 9:56 AM

    He made $18 mil (of the $26 mil guaranteed) on the first 2 years and the remaining $8 mil for 2016 is only guaranteed if he’s on the roster 4/5/2016; but, he has to void the contract by 3/4/2016, so I don’t know if he would qualify for the 2016 base salary.

  20. BigVinnyInJax says: Feb 23, 2016 12:24 PM

    Still like to see this guy in Jacksonville. He’ll probably just use the Jaguars to leverage a new contract in Cleveland, just like in 2014.

  21. garyhd01 says: Feb 23, 2016 1:17 PM

    the rams sure could use a top tier center and after clearing a ton of cap space by cutting LONG, LAURINITIS AND COOK (25 mil in extra capspace) he would IMO fit in nicely in LA as well!!

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