Browns match Jaguars offer for Mack
Alex Mack had signed. The question remained whether he would be with the Jaguars or the Browns this upcoming season.
The Browns wasted no time deciding that, matching the Jaguars’ offer sheet.
"I’m excited for both Alex and the Browns," GM Ray Farmer said in a statement released by the team. "We have talked about keeping our own players and this is a positive for us. Alex is a quality person and player that truly brings to life what playing like a Brown means.
"The ending is positive for everyone," Farmer said. "Keeping our young, good nucleus of players is vital for clubs and specifically the Browns, and therefore is this a good step.
"I’m excited for Alex and our football team as we continue to prepare for the 2014 season. The next step is the upcoming draft."
Mack, 28, has started all 80 career games and has not missed an offensive snap, a streak of 4,998 consecutive plays. He was named to his second Pro Bowl following the 2013 season, becoming the third Browns center to earn multiple Pro Bowl honors, joining John Morrow and Tom DeLeone.
Mack was also named second-team All-Pro by the Associated Press in 2013 and to the Professional Football Writers of America 2013 All-AFC team.
The Jacksonville Jaguars posted on the team’s twitter account just after noon on Friday: "BREAKING: #Jaguars officially sign C Alex Mack to offer sheet."
The Browns announced they matched the offer within five hours after that.
Multiple reports say the offer sheet is for a total of five years $42 million, including $10 million the first year and $8 million the next four years. The total guaranteed amount is nearly $26 million in the first three years.
There is a reported voidable option for Mack after the first two years, but if he keeps the contract in year three he would be guaranteed $8 million.
The Browns had until next Wednesday April 16 at 4 p.m. to match the offer. If they had chosen not to, they would’ve received no compensation per the terms of the transition tag the Browns placed on him.
The Browns said Mack was their top priority to retain in the off-season and by matching the terms of the contract they would have him for at least two seasons, if not longer.
Owner Jimmy Haslam was at the movie premier of "Draft Day" last Tuesday and told reporters he expected Mack to be remain with the Browns as rumors of the Jaguars impending offer was made known.
"We remain optimistic that Alex Mack will be a Cleveland Brown for a long time," Haslam said.
If Mack would’ve signed the transition offer from the Browns, he would have been paid $10.039 million for the 2014 season–nearly $2 million more than the nearest center is currently being paid.
Haslam was asked if the Browns were prepared to match any offer made to Mack.
"We want Alex to be a Cleveland Brown."
And he is.