The dream of Alex Mack becoming the NFL’s highest paid center came true this weekend, when the veteran signed an offer sheet from Jacksonville. The Cleveland Browns didn’t hesitate one second, matching that offer immediately. Once a report was released making the Alex Mack signing official, another report within hours stated the Cleveland Browns intended to match the offer.

Needless to say, as quick as some of us thought the Alex Mack era concluded, it appears never to have ended. Granted that it’s unknown whether Mack really wanted out of Cleveland or the center just wanted an enormous paycheck. Regardless, the Pro Bowler is now rich in Cleveland for the time being.

With this in mind, the terms of his contract seemed rather detailed than the majority in the past. Mack signed a deal worth $42 million over the span of five years. The center is guaranteed $26 million, $18 million within the first two seasons. A trade is prohibited until 2017 due to a specific no trade clause as well as a player opt out option. The wording of the player option is the tedious part. After two years, Mack can void his contract to enter free agency once again. This would manufacture the impossibility of the Browns using their franchise or transition tag.

Under those circumstances, it’s difficult to favor this deal, but I’m not as concerned as most people have expressed. There is an excess amount of guaranteed money involved in this front-loaded deal, but I believe everything will all work out.

It is important to realize that Cleveland had every intention to pay Alex Mack over ten million dollars this year alone. Another eight million for another season of solid offensive line contributions is acceptable in my eyes. Surely, any agreement that overpays players is going to stir up criticism, but the Cleveland Browns can’t satisfy everyone. Critical comments would exist whether Cleveland signed the Pro Bowl center or observed him walk out the door.

For this reason, I’m content with the Alex Mack deal. Nearly everyone I have entered discussions with changed their opinion of the 28 year old. It went from “Cleveland needs to pay the man,” to “Cleveland is dumb for dishing out that amount of money to him.” I admit I called for Mack’s exit when I read a report claiming Mack wanted out of Cleveland.

By all means, if that is truly what he wants, the five year veteran will have the opportunity later down the road. Until then, he is a Cleveland Brown and I couldn’t be more supportive of my team. Plus, what is the worst that can happen? Mack leaves after two more seasons, causing Cleveland to look elsewhere, via free agency or draft, for a new center. Signing Alex Mack gives the Browns a two year window to focus on our other needs to help solidify this team.

-Max Gold

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