By: Shane Mink
This past Wednesday, April 9th, rumors came out about Alex Mack signing an offer sheet with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The total numbers and structure of this contract are unknown, but there are indeed some rumors out there about it.
Adam Schefter of ESPN first reported that Mack was signing an offer sheet. He reported that the deal would be 5 years. Later others came out with contract details. There have been a few different rumors, but by far the most circulated one has the Jaguars giving Mack $20 million guaranteed in the first two years and $7 million the next year. There have also been reports that there is an opt out clause, which would allow Mack to leave the team he ultimately signs with.
Early Thursday morning Adam Schefter reported that the Browns are planning to quickly sign the offer sheet made by Jacksonville. Is this the right move?
If they did sign the offer sheet at the reported prices, they would be putting over $20 million in cap on just two offensive lineman next season. That would have an affect on contract negotiations with arguably more important players such as Joe Haden and Josh Gordon in the future.
If they decided not to sign the offer sheet, they will be going into the draft with a great need on the offensive line. The Browns already need to add an RG and RT to replace Shawn Lauvao (signed with the Redskins) and Mitchell Schwartz (not a scheme fit). Whoever the Browns name as the teams starting QB would probably begin next year with three rookies protecting him. That is not the ideal situation.
Should they make this move? There have been reports flying around all offseason that Alex Mack does not want to be a Cleveland Brown any more. There was also a report out there that the Browns told Mack after they tagged him that if he wanted to leave, they would not try to stop him. If they match the offer, they must be confident that Mack is willing to return.
Cap space-wise this deal is easy for Cleveland. With the most cap space in the league, unless the Jaguars structure their offer very oddly, the Browns will be able to match with cap to spare.
It would be rather awkward to sign Mack after he wanted out, but ultimately it is the best thing to do. The cap space may have an affect on signing other key players, but not dismantling the offensive line is very important right now if you ask me, especially if the Browns decide to draft and start and rookie at QB.
Update: Per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, the offer sheet that the Jags will send to Mack Friday is a 5 year deal worth $42 million, $18 million of which will be payed to him in the first 2 years. Mack will also have the option to opt out after year two if he’d like and the deal also has a stipulation where he can’t be tagged after year two as well.
Update: Looks as if the Jags gave the Browns a lot to think about as they were almost sure to match the deal, but are now having second thoughts.
Dating from Friday the Browns would have until Wednesday to match the offer sheet.
Update: As you all likely know by now the Browns matched the Jags offer and the figures on Mack’s end are as followed.
For more on this situation as it unfolds please feel free to follow Shane under the handle Twitter of @ShaneMink, myself under @IES_Don, and NFL insider Ian Rapoport under @Rapsheet . Shane will also have more updates and posts on the matter as the situation unfolds.