The Cleveland Browns were put in a tough spot when center Alex Mack signed a five-year, $42 million offer sheet with the Jacksonville Jaguars. But they had no choice but match the offer sheet in order to keep Mack in Cleveland, which is the right move for the Browns.
Mack appeared to be anxious to get out of Cleveland, but there’s no way that the Browns could afford to let him go. The Browns wasted no time in matching the offer from the Jaguars, showing their need to retain him. After placing the transitional tag on him, the Browns would have paid any price to keep Mack around, and for good reason.
Mack is one of the best centers in the NFL and one of the few bright spots on Cleveland’s offense last season. He’s the anchor of the Cleveland offensive line and is still in the prime of his career. With the Browns likely to start a rookie quarterback in 2014, a top-notch center like Mack snapping the ball will be invaluable for them.
The Browns have had a good offseason, signing several big-name free agents; however, much of the progress they’ve made would have been negated had they failed to retain Mack. Adding running back Ben Tate to the offense would have been partially nullified if the leader of the offensive line were allowed to leave the team.
Mack has been a bright spot on the Browns during the team’s struggles in recent years, and despite their other moves, turning things around will be much harder without him, especially with so much turnover at head coach and quarterback. The Browns needed to keep Mack at all costs, which is why they are smart to match the offer sheet, bringing Mack back to Cleveland.
Bryan Zarpentine is a New York Mets writer at RantSports.com. He also writes frequently about the NFL, College Football, College Basketball, and International Soccer. Like him on Facebook, follow him on twitter @BZarp and add him on Google.