As the NFL offseason continues, the one big-name free agent left on the market was Cleveland Browns center Alex Mack. Free to sign an offer sheet with any team he wants, Mack finally found a team willing to try and pry him from the Browns in the Jacksonville Jaguars.
It looks like Mack will not be escaping Cleveland after all, as the Browns are matching the offer made by the Jags for him:
Well that didn't take long: Browns are matching Jacksonville's offer sheet for C Alex Mack. Cleveland keeps Mack, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 11, 2014
Browns had gone back and forth bc of guarantee and were leery of 25 mil or north but decided to match— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) April 11, 2014
The Browns had until 4 p.m. ET Wednesday to decide if they would match the five-year, $42-million offer sheet Mack signed with the Jaguars on Friday. Owner Jimmy Haslam, general manager Ray Farmer and coach Mike Pettine have all said they valued Mack and wanted him back in Cleveland.
Mack is now locked-up for the next two years for $18 million, and he can opt-out of his deal after that.
If no offer were to have been made for Mack, he could have signed his transition tag tender and received $10 million next year.
Regarded as the best center in football, Mack will now be the highest-paid center in football at an annual rate of just over $8 million if he plays all five years of the contract out.
If however he opts-out of the deal after two years, the Browns will get nothing for losing him, as the offer sheet Mack signed had an agreement within it that he could not be franchise tagged.
This could ultimately bite the Browns in the butt if he leaves after two years after getting paid $18 million.