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Monday, January 27, 2014
Browns position outlook: Guard and center

By Pat McManamon

2014 Free agents: C Alex Mack, Gs Shawn Lauvao and Oniel Cousins

The good: Alex Mack had a strong season and went to the Pro Bowl.

Mack
The bad: Nobody knows where Mack will play in 2014. He was drafted by the Browns and has known nothing but losing and change since he joined the team. It only seems logical that he will test the free agent market. There are glaring needs at guard, where the Browns have John Greco and Jason Pinkston but hardly seem committed to either (even though they signed Greco to a contract extension a year ago). Lauvao did not have a good season, but it seems like he could be a better player than he’s shown. Regardless, he’ll do it with another team as the Browns probably will not bring him back.

The money: No decisions will be based on money. Greco has the highest salary cap figure at $2.43 million.

Draft priority: The real priority should be to re-sign Mack. The Browns could franchise him, but that might mean a $9 million cap cost. That’s something the team can afford, but not something Joe Banner has indicated he believes in doing for a center. Re-signing Mack means keeping some stability on the line, keeping a smart player with savvy in calling protections, and avoiding creating a hole that need not exist. Not keeping Mack adds another position to the list of needs, and if Mack is not back it’s conceivable the Browns could have three new starters on the interior of the line in 2014.