Thursday, April 10, 2014

Let him go

The Browns gambled on Alex Mack and are about to lose him.

Unless . . .

Owner Jimmy Haslam III adamantly refuses to allow the Jacksonville Jaguars to steal him away.

Haslam basically tells Mack that whether he likes it or not, Cleveland will remain his professional football home.

Haslam’s stubborn streak (and ego at the likely prospect of losing Mack) gets in the way and the Browns match what is expected to be a five-year contract that all but screams "do not match."

We have been led to believe the veteran center has no desire to return to Cleveland. He has not said it publicly, however. For the sake of the argument, though, let’s assume he really means it.

The Jaguars reportedly are on the verge of offering him a contract the Browns would be idiots to match. While we do not know the details yet, Mack’s agent reportedly is crafting a deal that would put a nasty dent in the Browns’ salary cap.

The club gambled when it slapped a $10 million transition tag on Mack at the beginning of free agency. Another $1.6 million would have guaranteed a franchise tag and at least one more year in Cleveland.

As it stands right now, if the Browns do not match the Jacksonville offer, Mack is gone and the Browns receive no compensation for his loss.

He purportedly wants to escape the losing culture in Cleveland. Apparently, he hasn’t checked out the situation in northern Florida.

The Jaguars, a franchise that can’t even pronounce its own nickname properly (Jaguires, or is it Jagwires?), are nothing more than the Cleveland Browns south. In the last six seasons, they are 31-65, a mere four games better than the Browns’ 27-69.

Whether or not Haslam likes it, it’s time to let Mack go. If he wants to leave the Browns and Cleveland that badly, let him go. Why make him stay? What will that accomplish? It’s time to move on.

Yes, he’s one of the best centers in the National Football League. And yes, he was arguably the club’s best offensive lineman last season.

But who can blame him for wanting to leave? He’s sick and tired of losing year after year after year. However, one can seriously question his choice of where to land should he be successful in his effort to leave the North Coast.

It’s interesting that no other team approached him. Surely there have to be some other NFL clubs out there willing to attempt to land a Pro Bowl center. At least one of them has to be a contender. And yet, only the Jaguars bit.

The Jags are headed nowhere quickly, thereby virtually assuring Mack’s misery will continue. His judgment in that regard can be looked upon as somewhat bizarre. The only difference between Cleveland and Jacksonville is the weather.

It’s much nicer in Jacksonville, probably making losing somewhat more palatable than Cleveland’s rough winters. You can go home during football season and enjoy warm weather after all the losses.

It looks as though it will turn out to be a lose-lose situation for both the player and what soon will be his ex-team.


  1. Rich, check out Grossi's article on Mack signing the Jax offer - best analytical article I've read in months on any topic. All along I've been in favor of matching any offer Mack received no matter what, but after reading Grossi's analysis of the situation, I'd rather they let him go than give him that kind of crazy money for a center. And while you astutely agree that letting him go would be the best move, I would disagree with calling it a lose-lose - Mack makes his millions (so he wins) even though the losing will continue for him in Jax (so he also loses), and the Browns will also win for the numerous reasons Grossi details.


  2. Yes, Mack makes his millions, but his career misery continues in Jax. No amount of money can make up for that.

    In the end, he most likely will regret making this move because the Browns, unless I totally misread the situation, will become a better team than the Jagwires.

    That's OK, though. The Browns have 10 picks in the upcoming draft and there are a couple of pivots out there good enough to come in and start as a rookie. If Mack is gone, Farmer will get one of them.

    1. Once again we agree(still a frightening thought), but I'm afraid Haslam has backed himself into a corner with his repeated pronouncements. There's a reason why centers on playoff teams make $6+ million(its called market value). My vengeful nature says let Mack go and stew in his own juices as the Jax losses pile up, but Haslam has all but committed to throwing big money into a very risky pot. I really wonder what the team would have done if Haslam had stayed out of it?

  3. Southie . . .

    The owner never stays out of it. It's his money, thus eventually his call.

    But you are correct in that he has backed himself into a corner. And if he changes his mind, he'll be wiping egg off his face for a while. But he'll recover.

    I'm waiting for exact details of the offer sheet before filing another post. Supposedly, there is a yet-to-be-revealed poison pill type of a part of the offer sheet that may cause the Browns to possibly consider waving bye-bye to Mack.