It has been over a month since Alex Mack was given the transition tag by the Browns, and he has still yet to be signed.
Under the tag, Mack would earn $10.039 million next year, making him the highest paid center in the NFL by about $2 million. Still, until July 22, any team has the ability to sign Mack to an offer sheet, which the Browns will have five days to match.
As of right now, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam fully expects a deal to be worked out.
“We remain optimistic that Alex Mack will be a Cleveland Brown for along time,” said Haslam. “We want him to be. I think we’ve made it clear that he’s the kind of person, the kind of player we want in our organization.”
A team would likely have to give Mack an outrageous contract in order for the Browns to let their two-time Pro Bowler walk, but the Jaguars may be willing to do just that. Jacksonville has over $25 million in cap space and needs a replacement for retired center Brad Meester. The Jaguars believe Mack would be the perfect fit, and after meeting on Friday night, Mack seems to agree.
Nonetheless, the Browns still have the final say, and according to cleveland.com, sources within the league believe Haslam will match absolutely any offer.
When, at the local movie premiere of Draft Day, Haslam was asked specifically about matching an offer from the Jaguars, he simply said, “We want Alex to be a Cleveland Brown.”
Mack’s teammate, friend and fellow Pro Bowl lineman Joe Thomas is optimistic as well.
“Well, there’s no doubt that he will be here at least this year,” said Thomas. “I think that’s for certain. I hope we can sign him to a long-term deal and keep him here for much longer than I’m here.”
While it seems as if everything is pointing in the direction of Mack re-signing with the Browns, a long-term deal is still a top priority. Cleveland would have to pay Mack over $12 million in 2015 if they were to tag him again, which is something they are highly unlikely to do. If Mack makes it to free agency again next year, the Browns will have little chance of retaining him long term.
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