When Ray Farmer decided to place the transition tag on Alex Mack rather than the the franchise tag it left a lot of people including myself scratching their heads wondering why for the sake of a million dollars out of fifty they let him negotiate with other teams. It’s a good thing I’m not the GM of the Browns as only now are we seeing the true reasons behind Ray Farmer’s decision. Farmer knowing that his predecessors Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi had made a mess of Mack’s contract extension, decided to let another team do the negotiating for him as he could match any offer with the most cap room in the NFL. If he had used the franchise tag not only would the number have been higher he may still have been in the same position as the year before only with a 25% increase in the tag price and other deals needing to be done. Those deals would be for the main young core of the Browns in CB Joe Haden, WR Josh Gordon and NT Phil Taylor who will all be looking for new deals in the next two years. The best part was he knew no one could give Mack an offer that he couldn’t match despite the Jags best efforts. One of the clauses is a player option after two years but hopefully by then Mack will have changed his mind about wanting to be in Cleveland and he would a lot less attractive as Free Agent having just hit the magic age of 30. Since the offer sheet was matched Mack has come and said he never wanted to leave Cleveland but was just trying to get the best deal for himself which may bode well for the player option on the contract in two years. By retaining Mack they have kept a vital leader in the locker room and have helped to keep the line as one of the best in the league.
Mack was a first team All-Pro and Probowler this past year.
The contract is reported to be 5yr/$42m with $18m due in the first two years before the player option at year two. The $8m he is guaranteed the next is likely to be more than a 30 year old center would get in Free Agency which should hopefully keep him in Cleveland although that may depend on how much the Browns improve between now and then as he may wish to bailout if doesn’t see much improvement.