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Cleveland Browns’ Alex Mack Should Be a Top Target for New York Giants in Free Agency

February 13th, 2014 at 4:26 PM
By Doug Rush

Heading into the free agency period, the most glaring need the New York Giants have is the offensive line and their need to address it is a must if they want to have any chance of a rebound season, much less protecting Eli Manning, who at times, got abused from poor play on the line.

With the exception of Justin Pugh, who was the team's first round draft pick last season and arguably the team's best offensive lineman last season, and Will Beatty, but only because of his five-year contract he signed last offseason, everyone else on the line is subject to being gone from the team. The one who most people feel that shouldn't be back with the team is center David Baas, who has never really lived up to the deal the Giants signed him to back in 2011, as he's been injury prone from the start and his toughness to stay on the field has been highly discussed.

Baas' release may not come until after June 1 so the Giants can save extra on cap space, but that likely won't stop the Giants from being aggressive in the market for free agent offensive lineman and if they are looking for the top centers on the market to put in front of Manning, then their search stops with Cleveland Browns center Alex Mack, who is not only considered to be the best center available, but perhaps the best offensive lineman available as well.

At 6'4" and 315 pounds, Mack is the combination of a great blocker mixed with pure, physical strength, raw, natural talent to go along with being an extraordinarily smart player who doesn't make mistakes on the field. Mack doesn't overreach on blocks and rarely, does he ever get beat on the line. In his pass protection part of his game, it's his patience on the line that allows him the ability to beat defenders up the middle and keep them off the quarterback. One scout said that Mack has the patience of an offensive tackle to keep defenders off the quarterback and allow very few sacks. His run blocking is good, but not as good as his pass blocking. But it would be a tremendous upgrade over what Baas, Jim Cordle and Kevin Boothe were giving the team last season.

When you think of Mack, the first thing that comes to mind is Shaun O'Hara, a veteran who came into the league with Cleveland, established themselves as a top center in the league and then bolted in free agency. When with the Giants, O'Hara established himself as one of the best centers and the leader of the line during his time with the Giants; Mack has those exact qualities that O'Hara did and can bring instant credibility back to a unit that struggled tremendously in 2013.

Mack is almost certain to command top dollar on the free agent market and can net a five-year deal worth anywhere between $25-35 million with at least $12-16 million guaranteed and aside from a team like the Giants, there will be many other teams interested in him. And while other teams might have more cap flexibility than the Giants, the Giants need for offensive line help might outrank the others, especially given the fact that Manning got sacked a career high 39 times and a good portion of the 27 interceptions, were due to the poor play of the offensive line and their inability to keep Manning up right and in the pocket long enough to make throws to his receivers.

While the Giants will likely also look to address the offensive line in May's NFL Draft, they need to be the most aggressive team in the offensive line market once March 11 hits, and a good starting point would be to make the strongest push necessary for Mack and find a way to bring him to New York for 2014.

Photo credit: Erik Daniel Drost / Foter / CC BY


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Tags: Alex Mack, Cleveland Browns, David Baas, Football, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Shaun O'Hara

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24 Responses to “Cleveland Browns’ Alex Mack Should Be a Top Target for New York Giants in Free Agency”

  1.  BigBlueGiant says:

    We could dream all we want too, But Mack isn’t coming here.

    Cleveland would be stupid to not pay this guy. They already have a stout o-line. And although he’s a good center, he’s not an all-pro type of guy. He’s def better than Baas, though. Cleveland is a QB away from having a pretty good team. And they’ve started building in the trenches when Holmgrem was there. They will pay him.

    If Cleveland doesn’t pay him, someone with a higher cap then us will.

    Yes, he should be a target for us, but let’s not forget the last time we overpaid a center.

    •  Kettles78 says:

      Cleveland also has had what 3 coaches in 2 years hired a coach then fired the GM etc

      Don’t give them too much credit

  2.  GOAT56 says:

    I think Mack signs for more money than 5 years, 35 mil. I don’t think we can afford Mack plus I don’t think it’s the best way to spend our money. O’hara wasn’t considered nearly the talent Mack is now. A better comparison is the GB center because I believe both went undrafted. If we could sign Mack for 5 year 30 mil I’m all for it. But with Cleveland having so much money and that being their guy I just don’t see it. If top guards are now 8 mil plus I have to thing an elite center will be the same or more.

    •  BigBlueGiant says:

      disagree about O’Hara. Mack isn’t as good as O’Hara was in his prime.

      Not being biased, just my opinion. I think Mack is good, but he’s not one of the top 3 in the game. When O’Hara was in his prime, he was the best.

      •  GOAT56 says:

        I don’t have a strong feeling where they stand as players. But my point is about how each were looked upon as free agents. I don’t recall O’hara being considered a big signing like Mack would be. Mack would be as big of free agent signing as we have made under JR. The O’hara signing ended up being great but when we signed him I don’t recall much fanfare. Mack is a big name and maybe the biggest free agent OL player available on the market.

  3.  jerseyrich says:

    The only thing we have going for us with Mack is that Cleveland wont franchise him, as all o-lineman are grouped together in that regard. The packers have lots of space so dietrich-smith probably stays there. The saints have cap problems so de la Puente is probably going to be on the market.

  4.  fanfor55years says:

    I’ll say this: Right now I’d give Mack the money most of you want to give Joseph and think I’d have a better team as a result. I know Seattle has turned everyone around, but today’s NFL still favors, very much favors, the offense. I think we can get by with Hankins (who by 2015 should be a stud), Jenkins (he’ll be around for another 3-4 years), Patterson (good for at least 2-3 more years), a draftee (over the next two drafts) and Kuhn AS LONG AS BEASON sits behind them.

    But combine a really good center with Pugh, a high draft pick, possibly Mosley, hopefully another relatively high draft pick, an improved Beatty fighting for his career with the Giants, and perhaps an improved Brewer, plus another pair of draft picks in 2015, and we might actually be able to protect Eli, produce a consistent run game, and get to the point where we had the potent offense we should have had with the skill players who were here over the last few years.

    Hey, I’m fine with the idea of drafting an OT, moving Pugh to center and using free agency to pick up a guard. But we need to have a good center. He is the second most critical guy on the offensive line.

  5.  jb322 says:

    I see alot of talk about making Snee a June 1st cut. I don’t think that is possible because he is not under contract for next year. This is the last year of his contract, making his cap hit come due all in 2014. That being said, I would think he would be cut anyway. But there is no rush, My guess is that they will let him “retire” rather than cut him. I can’t see him playing in 2014. Not at an $11 million cap hit.

    Now Baas and Kiwi could be designated June 1 cuts. But ny guess is that both will renegotiate rather than be cut. Neither has any leverage.

    It was pretty interesting seeing that the Deadskins will make a run at Joseph. Especially since they have Cofield locked up for the next few years. They also have to pay Orakpo, Riley and Hall this year and Kerrigan next year. Signing Joseph would tie up almost $15 million a year in DT. Not likely. Throw in what they have to pay Orakpo and Riley, I don’t see it happening. I guess I’m in the minority in that I give Joseph a contract similar to Atkins, maybe a a tad less. If you give him 5 years $45 million with $12 mil guaranteed, you can structure that in a way that the first 2 years come in at a very reasonable $6 million per year, throw in a 3rd or 4th year roster bonus of $3 million and make him play to that level. If he doesn’t, cut him, or renegotiate his contract down. I think that’s fair and reasonable for some stability along the D line. Especially since Eli should not be counting as $20 mil on the cap by then.

    If we can get Beason at a decent deal, say $4 million per year, then I think we are sitting pretty good. Nicks is the interesting one. I am still of the oppinion that you just can’t let him walk. I would layer his contract with incentives and add a roster bonus after the 3rd year. That way he stands to make his money if he plays up to elite status and the team is protected if he doesn’t.

    I think things flow nicely from there. I see somebody willing to give Mack a big contract but I don’t see it being the Giants. We would get more bang for the buck picking up a decent guard like Asamoah and drafting either Richburg or Swanson in the 2nd or third round this year.

  6.  jb322 says:

    I have been watching quite a lot of corner back tape lately. Has anybody got any info on Bashaud Breeland? Kid looks really good from what I can see. In my opinion he looked better than Dennard. Reminds me of Terrell Thomas pre-injury

    •  GOAT56 says:

      He’s the type of prospect that makes this draft very intriguing. He was a good college player but not a great one. He wasn’t overly scouted because he wasn’t expected to come out. I think there will be some real swings with players after the combine because the scouting of the juniors is just in the process of just catching up to the seniors.

  7.  skinnydoogan says:

    20 inches of snow and counting here in North Jersey. Ridiculous.

  8.  Dirt says:

    Is it too early to nominate Alex Mack for the G101 HOF?

      •  Dirt says:

        I’m just glad I’ve arrived at a site filled with so many people who have watched a ton of Cleveland Browns games and studied the interior line play and/or watched a lot of “film”

        •  skinnydoogan says:

          Well I for one, know nothing about him so I am not saying a word…..

        •  fanfor55years says:

          Can’t speak for others but when his name kept popping up here I actually watched some tapes of Cleveland. He’s pretty good. I think he’s pretty comparable to O’Hara from what I saw.

  9.  BleedingBlueSince04 says:

    Erin Henderson was released . I would love to sign him over someone like rivers.

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