The Cleveland Browns have a big offseason ahead of them, and priority No. 1 is to find their franchise quarterback (most people have the Browns filling that need by drafting Derek Carr with their first first-round pick). But they have a few key players to re-sign in free agency, with strong safety T.J. Ward and center Alex Mack being the two most prominent. The Browns would definitely be wise to do whatever they can to keep both players, since Ward and Mack are two of the best players at their respective positions. Ward, a leader on the Browns defense with over 100 tackles this season, has already voiced his desire to stay in Cleveland, and it looks like Alex Mack would love to stick around with the Browns organization as well.
According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Mack will allow the Browns to match any offer that he receives in free agency, ”Being in Cleveland is nice. I have good friends on the team, I like the coaches, it’s a nice place.”
It sounds like Mack wants to hit the open market to see what his value is, but the fact that he’s willing to let the Browns match any offer for him is encouraging. It’s a bit of common courtesy, but his strong response affirming this desire indicates that he prefers to stay with the Browns. That doesn’t come as a surprise, and it’s clear that the organization values him. Both future Hall of Fame left tackle Joe Thomas and offensive coordinator Norv Turner gave heavy praise to Mack, and losing him in free agency would be a big blow.
The 28-year-old has always been one of the league’s better centers, and he is having a phenomenal 2013 season in a contract year. Mack is excellent in just about every facet of the game, and he has been an All-Pro player this season. You could even make the argument that he’s been the best center in the league this year (yes, even better than Chris Myers of the Houston Texans), and there is no doubt that Mack has put himself in a position to receive some major bank. Again, it’s definitely in the Browns best interest to keep him, and they’ll be hoping that his price tag doesn’t rise too much.