Farmer sidesteps questions about Mack and Ward

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Most four-win teams don’t have to worry much about whether to use the franchise tag, because they’re four-win teams.  But the Browns are a four-win franchise with a pair of candidates for the franchise tag.

In his introductory press conference, new G.M. Ray Farmer was asked whether the tag may be used on center Alex Mack or safety T.J. Ward.

“We’ve taken the opportunity to really look at all of the models and opportunities that we have to retain players,” Farmer said.  “I don’t think right now is the right time for me to talk about what negotiations may be going on or where we’re at with anyone in specific, but I will tell you we’ll do everything in our power to make sure we have the right players for this football team moving forward.”

As pointed out in our team-by-team look at who could be tagged, the labor deal lumps all offensive linemen into the same category, which means that Mack would be paid like an elite left tackle.  Which would blow the lid off the market for centers.

That makes Ward the more likely candidate for the franchise tag, regardless of whether an acceptable long-term contract can be negotiated with Mack.

It’s the first of many challenges Farmer will face as he takes over a team with five Pro Bowlers, $40 million in cap space, 10 draft picks, and three selections in the first 35.

14 responses to “Farmer sidesteps questions about Mack and Ward

  1. That’s because Mack and Ward don’t want to be there. The Stooges are just too unstable to take seriously.

  2. I don’t understand the franchise tag. If a team likes a player enough to pay him in the top 5 of his position, why not just lock him up long term?

    As for the players, the gripe about being tagged but it is guaranteed! All other contracts are not.

    Cleveland, as all teams, need to decide what they are and then build around that philosophy. But each year Cleveland starts over thus they are stuck in perpetual sub 500 mode.

    I like both players, lock them up show some sort of unity. Then get a QB.

  3. This all presupposes that Farmer will still be with the team to negotiate a contract extension after any tag is in place.

  4. You cant tag a center…..that would be beyond stupid. Im not sure what the exact number would be, but im assuming it would be north of 10 mill.

    With that said, there is no reason at all why centers, guards and tackles should not all have their own separate franchise tag designations. Goodell will fine you for wearing the wrong colored socks, but he cant get something as simple as that right.

  5. Having Banner & Lombardi out of the picture increases our chances of retaining both players. They’ll Tag TJ. Banner wasn’t even going to make Mack a decent offer.

  6. I have been a Saints fan my entire life. And, up unitl recently they had been long years. The browns remind of the saints of the 70s. And, Browns fan deserve better

  7. Why would tagging him now blow the lid off centers, when you acknowledge centers are already lumped in with other OL? If there were a lid on centers, it’s already been blown off.

  8. Not to worry, Mack will happily agree to be Joe Flacco’s new center next year. And he’ll finally understand what winning in the NFL means.

    But then he’ll realize the mistake he made…it’s in Baltimore the cultural void between Washington and Philly .

  9. Yesterday was a “good day” if you are a Browns fan…that is how bad Banner and Lombardi were.

    As for Mack and Ward…the chances of getting them to sign with the Browns just went up.

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