The Cleveland Browns are trending upward again! After the 2015 season ended for the Browns, several players were uncertain about their future with the club. In particular, LT Joe Thomas hinted that if the team hired a certain type of coach, he might ask to be traded. With the news that they are hiring Hue Jackson, arguably the most attractive head coaching candidate on the market, as their head coach has already sent positive waves through the locker room, according to former Browns.com writer Kevin Jones:
Quick straw poll in texting some Browns players: They're ecstatic. Hue Jackson makes football fun. He's innovative & will score touchdowns— Kevin Jones (@Mr_KevinJones) January 13, 2016
That should mean that Thomas is staying put, unless Sashi Brown, the Executive VP of Football Operations, wants to acquire high draft picks in exchange for him this offseason. We'll put that discussion on the backburned for now, though, and start turning our attention to another player: C Alex Mack.
Mack can opt out of his contract this offseason, due to the unique agreement the Browns had to match a couple of years ago. Last week, Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report heard that Mack was still undecided about what he was going to do:
Source: #Browns C Alex Mack hasn't decided whether he'll opt out of his current contract. Decision won't be made until after Pro Bowl.— Brent Sobleski (@brentsobleski) January 8, 2016
The acquisition of Jackson might lead Mack to believe that Cleveland could legitimately turn things around over the final three years of his contract. On top of that, former Browns lineman Jason Pinkston tweeted last season that there was no way Mack would leave the Browns to separate from Thomas, his long-time partner-in-crime now. This might also be of interest to Mack and Thomas, considering it comes from a fellow Pro Bowl lineman in the AFC North:
Text from Bengals OT/captain Andrew Whitworth on what the Browns are getting in new head coach Hue Jackson ... pic.twitter.com/NPEGiRerNX— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 13, 2016
Additionally, I'm not sure how much financial sense it makes for Mack to opt out. If he sticks with his current contract, his $8 million salary in 2016 becomes fully guaranteed on April 5, 2016. He is set to make $8 million in 2017 and $8 million in 2018, in which each year includes up to $2 million guaranteed if he remains on the roster at a certain point. And, with the Browns not really having a good reason to move on from a Pro Bowl center, Mack might as well view that money as being as-good-as-guaranteed. He's already the fourth-highest paid center on average in the NFL, so we're talking peanuts if he tries to get more money elsewhere.