When the Browns placed the Transition tag on Alex Mack rather than the Franchise tag they took the power out of their hands and allowed others to negotiate with Mack. The Jaguars did just that by offering Mack a front loaded 5 year, $42 million but with the Browns having more cap room than the Jags they had no problem match that deal.
Joe Thomas and Alex Mack celebrate a win
Now though an interesting quirk has emerged from deal that Jags offered, that Mack can opt out after two years and make it effectively a two year, $18 million deal. This occurred because Jacksonville offered Mack a very player friendly deal to lure him away from the Browns and the Browns just used their option to match any contract rather than negotiate their own deal with Mack. In an interview with ESPN’s Toni Grossi Browns LT Joe Thomas said he wouldn’t be that surprised if Mack opted out saying “I wouldn’t be surprised if he decides to opt out and become a free agent at the end of the year.”
“I haven’t really had any conversations with Alex, but I will say I’m sure there’s a reason he put that clause in his contract, because this is going to be an important year for the Browns to prove the things they said to him during the recruiting process, prove they were true,” left tackle Joe Thomas told Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland. “So I imagine that we’re going to have to have a good season, we’re going to have to show to Alex that we’re moving in the right direction, or I’m sure he’ll probably, . . . there’s no downside to declaring himself a free agent after this year because worst-case scenario, I guess, he can just resign with the Browns if he wanted.
“Maybe he just signs right back with the Browns for more money, I don’t know. I just know that having the player’s option to opt out rather than strictly only the club, which is kind of the way everything is set up right now, it’s great for the players and I’d like to see more players across the league get that type of language in their contract because it gives the players some power that if the team’s not following through on their side of the bargain, that the players can walk and go somewhere else.”
Mack was a key player in a revamped run game for the Browns last year and his absence was really felt after he went down with a broken leg with the rushing yards per game decreasing from 146.4 to 90.5. If the Browns were to lose arguably the best center in the league only two after they thought they had locked him long term, it would be a massive blow.