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.