There is a fallacy that coaches and managers often make that goes like this: We aren't very good. We must do something to change this. This is something. Lets do it.
By signing center Alex Mack to a bumper $42 million, five year contract of which $18 million will be paid out over the first two years and $26 million is guaranteed after two years the Browns have fallen victim to this mistake.
The Browns came into the offseason with the number four first round pick in the draft
and and a large amount of cap space available to spend on free agents. After making some astute signings like running back Ben Tate and safety Dante Whitner the Browns still had plenty of money to burn.
The Browns then decided to spend a chunk of their remaining cap space by first transition-tagging and then matching the Jacksonville Jaguars contract for center Alex Mack.
The Browns have now made Alex Mack the highest paid center in the NFL according to spotrac.com. Mack now earns $214,000 a year more than the second highest paid
centre in the league Ryan Kalil.
The question is though is Alex Mack or any center worth this?
Alex Mack is one of the premier centers in the NFL today. He has went to the Pro Bowl
twice in his five year career. He is a solid interior lineman who rarely misses a game.
Since joining the league in 2009 Mack has been on the field for 4,998 straight
snaps even playing through injury to do this.
In the 2011 season Mack came down with appendicitis. Instead of having surgery right away, Mack played against the Tennessee Titans and went on to have surgery in the bye week. Mack then returned a a week later to start against the Oakland Raiders.
Give Mack his due, he is a warrior and possibly a little bit crazy. Two good qualities for a lineman to have.
This being said his ability to shape the game from center is not great because he
plays at center.
No matter how great Alex Mack is he will never win games for the Browns. The ability to change the game for the good from center just isn't there. Sure a center can lose a game for his team by snapping the ball badly but the skills of a reliable snapper can be picked up far more cheaply then at a five year $42 million contract.
Panicked by the idea of losing a starter though the Browns have paid over the odds to
keep Mack around. They may have plenty of cap space but this doesn't mean they should be spending money simply to spend money.
The Browns have just made their first mistake of the season. Lets hope it is not the first of many.
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