The Jacksonville Jaguars will sign two-time Pro Bowl center Alex Mack to a five-year deal by Friday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, which will give the Cleveland Browns five days to match the offer. While the Browns, as per the rules of the transition tag, have the opportunity to match the offer, the Jaguars have reportedly designed the offer to avoid such an action:
Alex Mack's 5-year deal with Jacksonville will be designed to make it as difficult as possible for the Browns to match, per sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 9, 2014
Sources close to Alex Mack say he wants to play this contract in Jacksonville, not Cleveland, which opted not to give him long-term deal.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 9, 2014
Mack, 28, has started all 80 games since joining the Browns as a first round selection in the 2009 NFL Draft and earned Pro Bowl nods for his play in the 2010 and 2013 seasons. While he was scheduled to reach free agency earlier in the 2014 offseason, he was given the transition tag which gives the Browns the opportunity to match any offer sheet extended by another team.
No contract has been officially offered yet, and numbers of what the potential offer will look like has been revealed, but it's likely that the deal features large bonuses that are intended to scare the Browns away from signing the deal.
Both the Browns and Jaguars have plenty of cap space, so it's feasible that Cleveland could sign just about any offer and owner Jimmy Haslam has made it clear that the team doesn't want to lose their center.