In what comes of somewhat of a surprise, the Jacksonville Jaguars have plans to sign Alex Mack to a five year offer sheet by Friday, according to league sources. The Jaguars have had a busy off-season and are making serious strides towards putting a far more respectable product on the field. Securing the services of a player many consider to be the league's best center would go a long way towards aiding that process.
The Jaguars are in the midst of constructing an offer sheet that will be unpalatable to Cleveland and make it as difficult as possible for the Browns to match. The Panthers' Ryan Kalil is currently the league's highest paid center, at $8.2 million and Alex Mack's deal is expected to dwarf his by a significant amount. The Browns are expected to match, but stranger things have happened.
Something to consider is that the Browns have several key players who are soon due for long term deals of their own. Doling out a 5 year contract for even $9 million a season could compromise their ability to keep Joe Haden, one of the league's best cornerbacks, or Josh Gordon, arguably the top WR in the league who doesn't sport the Megatron nickname. Jordan Cameron showed flashes of brilliance last season at TE and is also nearing the end of his contract. The Browns are also widely expected to take a QB with their top draft choice, which will incur another sizable cap charge, especially if he pans out.
Alex Mack, for his part, is said to want to play out this deal in Jacksonville, where the needle is certainly trending up. With the addition of Zane Beadles, Denver's Pro Bowl guard, and the development of last year's highly touted draft choice Luke Joeckel, the Jaguars could sport one of the league's finest offensive lines, giving Chad Henne plenty of time to find Justin Blackmon downfield, and newly inked RB Toby Gerhart ample room to run. Regardless of how this situation plays out, Gus Bradley is building something special in Jacksonville, something talented players want to be a part of. For Jaguars fans, this has to be a breath of fresh air in what has been a gloomy existence.