The Cleveland Browns have matched the offer sheet center Alex Mack signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Cleveland Browns wasted little time in making their decision to match the offer sheet center Alex Mack signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars early Friday afternoon.
And now, the two-time Pro Bowler will be in Cleveland for at least two more seasons.
Early Friday, Mack signed a reported five-year, $42 million offer sheet with the Jaguars, and the Browns took less than five hours of the five days they had to match the offer and keep their All-Pro center.
The contract includes $26 million guaranteed, gives the 28-year old Mack the ability to opt out after the 2015 season, and has language that he cannot receive a franchise or transition tag.
"I'm excited for both Alex and the Browns," general manager Ray Farmer said in a release from the Browns. "We have talked about keeping our own players and this is a positive for us. Alex is a quality person and player that truly brings to life what playing like a Brown means.
"The ending is positive for everyone. Keeping our young, good nucleus of players is vital for clubs and specifically the Browns, and therefore, this is a good step."
Mack, who will now be the highest-paid center in the NFL, was set to be an unrestricted free agent after the 2013 season. However, instead of placing the franchise tag on him, which amounts to a one-year contract worth the average of the highest-paid offensive linemen in the NFL, the Browns placed the transition tag on their all-star center.
By doing so, the Browns had the right to match any offer sheet Mack signed.
The first-round pick of the Browns in the 2009 NFL Draft after the team traded back with the New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles, Mack has not missed a single game or snap in his five years with the team, earned invitations to the 2011 and 2014 Pro Bowls, and was a second-team Associated Press All Pro last season.
Mack is one of only four NFL offensive linemen, along with his teammate, left tackle Joe Thomas, Atlanta Falcons guard Justin Blalock and New York Jets left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson, to take every offensive snap for his respective club since 2009. In 2009, Mack was the only rookie center, and one of four first-year offensive linemen, to start all 16 games.
During his first year with the Browns in 2009, Mack blocked for a running game that averaged 4.2 yards per carry and 130.4 per game over the final month of the season, including Jerome Harrison's club record 286 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs on Dec. 20.
En route to his first Pro Bowl invitation after the 2010 season, Mack cleared the way for Peyton Hillis to rush for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns, the fourth-best total in the AFC and sixth in the NFL, and for the team to have five 100-yard rushing games in the season.
After playing with flu-like symptoms against the Tennessee Titans on October 2, 2011, Mack underwent an appendectomy the following day. Fortunately, the Browns had a bye week on Oct. 9, and Mack was able to return for the team's next game, at the Oakland Raiders, on Oct. 16.
In 2012, Mack was the lead blocker for running back Trent Richardson, who broke six franchise rookie records and equaled a seventh. Richardson rushed for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns on 267 carries, gained 1,317 yards of total offense, totaled 12 touchdowns, and scored 72 points, and had a record-tying three 100-yard rushing games.