Jimmy Haslam stops just short of guaranteeing Alex Mack will be back

Alex Mack


The Cleveland Browns are in the news today because many associated with the team were on the “orange carpet” last night for a local premier of Kevin Costner’s Draft Day movie. Mary Kay Cabot was there as well and she got some comments from Jimmy Haslam that back up much of what we’ve all been thinking recently about Alex Mack and his situation as a transition tag-ee.

“We remain optimistic that Alex Mack will be a Cleveland Brown for a long time,” Haslam said on the “orange carpet” at the local premiere of Draft Day at Cinemark Valley View theaters. “We want him to be. I think we’ve made it very clear that he’s the kind of person, the kind of player we want in our organization.’

Asked specifically if he’d match any offer the Jaguars concoct, he smiled and said, “We want Alex to be a Cleveland Brown.”

Obviously that last sentence isn’t a guarantee that he’ll match any offer, but it’s characteristically confident for Jimmy Haslam and indicates to me that he agrees with the rest of us. There’s very little possibility of Alex Mack signing an offer sheet that would be unpalatable to the Cleveland Browns. The bottom line is that Alex Mack can’t get a team to sign up for something that they wouldn’t also be prepared to live with themselves. This is the beauty of a salary-capped world. There’s no Yankees offer out there that’s 30% higher because a team can just afford more than the Browns.

And for that reduced flexibility and lack of free will, Alex Mack guarantees that he’ll get paid at least $10 million. We’re talking about a man who has made somewhere around $14.5 million over the first five years of his career. Of course he wants more guaranteed money and maybe even a chance to play somewhere else, but the trade-off isn’t that much of a hostage situation with the transition tag compensation.

[Related : Alex Mack wants to play for a passionate fan base, visits Jacksonville]

  • Harv 21

    Haslam knew the question was coming and the prepared response is as generic as it is non-substantive. This is the only thing for him to say to the media as the process plays out. As the cliche goes, nuthin’ to see here folks, let’s move on.

  • mgbode

    Yep, I doubt this gets resolved before July just because neither side has much urgency to do it before then and Alex may not want to go through OTA’s.

    At the end of the day, the Browns are not removing the transition tag and if Alex wants out, then he’ll sign the tag and try again next offseason. With all of the young players that we actually want to sign to 2nd contracts, at some point, he’d be able to get away. But, in 2014, he’ll be a Brown.

  • RGB
  • Harv 21

    for sure. But Mack strikes me (as if I really know) as a smart, logical guy and I can’t figure out why he would wait until July and skip OTAs. Learning and excelling in yet another offense only increases his value, here or elsewhere. He made his point to Lombardi/Banner, and to Haslam. If I’m him I play the good soldier, get into Berea and do my thing again. That would most help his cause for the pot of gold.

  • mgbode

    He can do his offseason work in complete control without anyone having a right to oversee him and he knows he still has a $10mil check coming to him at the end of it.

    If I were him, then I would not sign until July. It has to be nice to have some control over your work when that aspect is pretty rare in pro-sports.

    (and I think he will learn & excel in the ZBS just fine w/o OTAs)

  • saggy

    The Browns can remove the Transition tag? if so, when?

    If he signs an offer sheet with Jax, the Browns can match. But can the Browns create a new deal, or does it have to be the exact one that Jax creates?

    If it has to be the same one, i can see Cleveland actually being ok with this. He would get a lot this year (no big deal) and next year. When the Browns work to extend Haden and the rest they can make year-2 and 3 heavy years, instead of next season, in order to have room.

    And, from what I am reading, I’m starting to think the Browns were really smart about this. IF Jax is offering $22mil guaranteed over 3 seasons, that’s about what the Browns would have to offer with a Transition and Franchise tag over just the next 2 seasons.

    I wonder if the Browns want Mack to sign with Jax just so they could match a 3-year deal that would actually not be as prohibitive as it would seem.

    or, i could just be wrong with all the math and the rules. yeah, that’s probably it, anyways….

  • mgbode

    the Browns can renounce his rights and remove the tag anytime that they would like to do it.

    and I would not be surprised if Mack signs elsewhere just to have the Browns match so both sides can save face.