Despite their 4-10 record the Browns have built a core to build around for the future, but this off season could see the departure of two key players via free agency. In Sunday’s version of “Hey, Mary Kay” Cleveland.com Browns’ beat writer Mary Kay Cabot suggests that both Alex Mack and TJ Ward are likely to test free agency and can expect to some big dollar offers on the open market.
“At this point, I think Mack and Ward will test the free agent market. I think both will command big dollars, but both would love to be back. I think the Browns will probably make offers, but both will most likely hit the jackpot elsewhere.” writes Cabot.
The Browns’ front office showed they weren’t afraid to spend some money last off season with the acquisitions of Paul Kruger and Desmond Bryant, but how much they are willing to pay to retain their own players remains a mystery. Joe Banner is notorious for cutting ties with players earlier rather than later. He came under fire in Philadelphia after deciding to part ways with Eagles’ legend Brian Dawkins after Dawkins had given the Eagles 13 years of service, but Banner is a businessman so business always comes first.
While Dawkins was in the twilight of his career when Banner decided to part ways with him in Philly, Mack and Ward are coming into their primes as they complete their rookie contracts. The demand for a pro bowl center in Mack and a safety in Ward who received All-Pro consideration last year is surely to be high. Not to mention both have been healthy all of the 2013 season,.