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Report: Browns match Jaguars offer to center Alex Mack

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer

Alex Mack reportedly will return to Cleveland after all. (USATSI)
Alex Mack reportedly will return to Cleveland after all. (USATSI)

More NFL offseason: Mock Drafts | Prospect Rankings | Pro Days | Top free agents

Apparently Alex Mack won't be leaving Cleveland anytime soon.

Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Browns have matched the Jacksonville Jaguars' offer sheet to the two-time Pro Bowl center.

New Browns GM Ray Farmer had this to say about this signing.

"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 is this a good step."

When the Jaguars had signed Mack to a five-year, $42 million offer sheet, Cleveland, based on the transition tag it had slapped on Mack earlier in the offseason, had five days to match Jacksonville's contract or lose Mack without receiving any compensation in return.

After deciding it would be a good idea to place the transition tag on Mack for $1.6 million less than it would have cost to franchise tag him (which would have required a team signing Mack to give up two first-round draft picks in exchange), it makes sense that Cleveland now will be punished by having to spend $18 million during the first two years of his contract.

Per the contract, Mack could leave after the 2015 season, because the Browns can't franchise tag him. And if he stays, Cleveland would owe him a guaranteed $8 million for 2016.

So, the Jaguars put the Browns in a position to make Mack the highest-paid center in the league. But really, what other choice did Cleveland have? They had the money and need the talent.

And one newly-signed Browns running back named Ben Tate is happy about the latest developments.

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