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Friday, April 11, 2014
Browns have to think hard on Mack deal

By Pat McManamon

The Jacksonville Jaguars gave the Cleveland Browns something to think about with the five-year offer sheet they gave center Alex Mack on Friday.

The Jaguars didn't make it impossible for the Browns to match the offer -- they have until Wednesday -- but they made it just tough enough that the Browns should think about what's best.

Mack
It's still likely the Browns match; it's simply not optimum to create a new hole on the offensive line.

But ... guaranteeing a center $26 million is not a gimme. In most NFL boardrooms, that's too much money for that position. In the Browns, though, it may not be. Because Mack is a good player who fits in the Browns offense.

Still, an average of $8.667 million (guaranteed) for the next three years puts Mack in rare company.

The money figures to be the main sticking point in the discussion.

The fact that Mack can void the deal after two years is also an issue since he can then re-enter free agency. But at that point he'll be 30-years-old with seven years of wear and tear on a center's body.

The contract also gives him some control over his future. He can't be traded, can't be given the franchise tag and he can walk away after two years and choose another team.

If he does void after two years though, the $8 million "guarantee" in Year 3 drops off the Browns' ledger.

This decision comes down to whether the Browns view Mack as valuable enough to make him the highest-paid center in the league, and to put him second on the team in average salary per year.

He's a good player.

He's been a good Brown.

Now the team has to decide if he's been good enough to warrant $18 million the next two seasons, or even $26 million over the next three.