With an emphasis being placed on fixing an aging, oft-injured and under-performing offensive line, Cleveland Browns center Alex Mack has been the most discussed potential free agent signing amongst New York Giants fans. Unfortunately, a Pro Bowl center of Mack's caliber is highly desirable and the Browns are well aware of that. It's why they are making an effort to re-sign him prior to the start of free agency on March 11th.
Even in the event the Browns are unable to come to terms with Mack prior to the start of free agency, Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland is reporting that he's a likely candidate for the franchise tag — which NFL teams were free to use beginning on Monday. They will have until March 3rd to make that designation.
Should the two sides be unable to come to an agreement, ultimately leading to the potential use of the franchise tag, Mack would remain with the Browns for at least one more season with a salary cap number of approximately $11.13M.
Mack, who was selected 21st overall in the 2009 NFL Draft, has never missed so much as a snap for the Browns. He was also named to the Pro Bowl in both 2010 and 2013, and was named a Second-Team All Pro this past year.
Leading up to 2013, the Browns had tried in vain to re-sign Mack and talks eventually stalled as the regular season began. Under an entirely new regime, the team will again attempt to lock him up for the long-term.
Given the value Cleveland has clearly placed on Mack, it's unlikely he'll ever reach free agency. And, as such, it's likely safe for Giants fans to cross him off of their wish list(s).
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