Alex Mack is officially, once again, a Cleveland Brown. This may be the most canny move the new Browns front office has made, which is actually a compliment. (Then again, the bar was pretty set low.)

If you aren’t a Browns fan, I’ll bring you up to speed. The Browns tagged Alex Mack at the beginning of the offseason, but not with the franchise tag. They used the “transition tag”, which is about 20% cheaper than the “franchise tag”, but allows the player to negotiate and even sign a contract with other teams. If he does so, the original team has five days to counter the offer. In fact, if they match the offer, the contract is automatically signed.

The difficulty for the Browns was that they wanted Mack back, but there was feeling from Mack and his agent that he wanted a significant payday in any extension. The Jaguars made this deal as much of a poison pill as possible — he’ll be the highest paid center in the league for the first two years of the deal, and can opt out after the first two years. Plus, he can’t be tagged again per the contract. It’s technically a five year deal, but the feeling, at least at the moment, is that he’ll opt out ASAP. I’m okay with that; I’m confident that the Browns will show enough improvement that he’ll decide to stay. In any case, this was a roll of the dice, and the Browns won. Alex Mack got paid, and we can focus on getting guards that don’t suck in the draft.


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