All offseason, I have been firm that the Cleveland Browns should not pay RT Mitchell Schwartz a ridiculous amount of money (anything above $8.5 million a year), citing the fact that he's never made the Pro Bowl or been an All Pro and right tackles get paid significantly less than left tackles. Center Alex Mack would seem to carry a bigger price tag, with some speculating that he'd want up to $10 million a year. Thanks to this, though, it sounds like the cream-of-the-crop offensive linemen are definitely going to set new bars for their respective positions this year:
The Kelechi Osemele deal — 5 years, $60M max — is wild. Highest paid guard in NFL history. Crazy $$. #Raiders beef up that line.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 8, 2016
Like Schwartz, Kelechi Osemele has never made the Pro Bowl or been an All Pro, so that throws my whole negotiating strategy out of the window. That is $12 million a year, where the previous high for offensive guards was around $8 million a year. That is an absurd jump. Even though Mack and Schwartz play different positions, you know they are going to see that deal and use it as leverage. The Browns have the cap space to retain Mack or Schwartz, but they can't invest so much money on the offensive line to retain both of them, knowing that Joel Bitonio is also a couple of years away from being a free agent.
Who knows, though -- maybe the Raiders were just desperate to sign Osemele, and we don't know yet how much of his contract is guaranteed. Other teams in the NFL might still abstain from such an investment, and if Mack and Schwartz don't like what they here, maybe their prices will come close enough to what the Browns are offering for a deal to be reached.