It has been five days since the Jaguars brass sat for dinner with Cleveland Browns center Alex Mack, but the team has not lost contact with the two-time Pro Bowler and are still in negotiations, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
These negotiations are ongoing despite recent comments from Browns owner Jimmy Haslam that would indicate the Browns are ready and willing to match just about any offer that the Jaguars put together. At a premiere of "Draft Day," Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer caught up with Haslam, who was asked about the possibility of the Jaguars giving Mack an offer sheet.
"We remain optimistic that Alex Mack will be a Cleveland Brown for a long time,'' Haslam said on the "orange carpet'' at the local premiere of Draft Day at Cinemark Valley View theaters. "We want him to be. I think we've made it very clear that he's the kind of person, the kind of player we want in our organization.'
Asked specifically if he'd match any offer the Jaguars concoct, he smiled and said, "We want Alex to be a Cleveland Brown."
Both the Jaguars and the Browns have the cap space necessary to pay Mack a large deal, so it will be difficult for the Jaguars to create a contract that the Browns can't match. However, Big Cat Country's Alfie Crow laid out a possible way the Jaguars could create a contract that scares off the Browns, although it would likely require overpaying the center early in his deal.
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports made a similar suggestion on Wednesday, saying that a large roster bonus could keep the Browns from matching an offer sheet:
Put together a two-year offer sheet for Mack that continues to reward him with the shockingly high salary of $10 million in 2014, and then, something like a base salary of $1 million in 2015 with a $15 million roster bonus due on the third day of the 2015 league year. That should more than do it.
There's no rush for the Jaguars, as they have until July 22 to sign Mack to an offer sheet and a solution is expected soon, according to many media reports.