The flames of the dumpster fire in Cleveland just flicked a little higher. On Wednesday franchise stalwart Alex Mack was lured away from the Browns by the Atlanta Falcons, as he agreed to a five-year contract worth more than $9.5 million annually.
Since the Browns selected him with the 21st pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, the three-time Pro Bowler and fellow offensive lineman Joe Thomas have been the only two consistent members of the team’s roster. Rumors suggest that Mack could have actually made more money to stay in Cleveland, but decided he needed a change of scenery. This is yet another blow to a Browns team that has absorbed a comical number of gut-punches over the past few years.
On top of Mack exiting, Cleveland also lost speedy receiver Travis Benjamin to the Chargers and just “yanked” its offer to right tackle Mitchell Schwartz. So if the Browns draft a young quarterback to take over the franchise as expected, he’ll likely be a sitting duck behind a horrendous, patchwork offensive line with virtually no reliable targets to throw to. I think we can all agree that is a recipe for success.
Given the disaster that was the Johnny Manziel era, Josh Gordon’s uncertain status, the likely departure of safety Tashaun Gipson and the enormous bust that Justin Gilbert has been, new head coach Hue Jackson has a monumental task ahead of him.
The Browns are a complete and utter mess right now and it doesn’t appear they have a plan or path forward. They have won just 37 games over the last eight seasons, are on their eighth head coach since then and have the NFL’s worst owner. Why would any sane free agent want to play there?
The Browns need a massive culture change. Maybe Jackson can bring that to town, but at this point I’m skeptical. The loss of Mack is huge and things don’t look like they will get better in Cleveland any time soon.