By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)
The Jaguars are about to do something they have not done in a number of years – form what could be a very solid offensive line.
While the images of Tony Boselli and Leon Searcy are in the back of the minds of Jaguars faithful, there is a real hope this offensive line will be one of the better units on the team in 2014. If the Jaguars sign Alex Mack, the free agent center from the Cleveland Browns.
Mack met with the Jaguars management and whether the Pro-Bowl center was offered a contract is not known – yet.
The Browns – based on the fact they transition rights to Mack – would have five days to match any offer Mack may get on the open market. Now would be a good time to see what kind of wheeler and dealer Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell really is. Can Caldwell and the Jaguars strike a deal with Mack and see if Cleveland will bite or send their center of attention packing?
The transition tag lowers Mack's one-year price tag from $11.6 million to approximately $10 million.
The fact the Jaguars are even entertaining this kind of move speaks volumes about where this team is now and where they were only two season ago. Gene Smith never would have pulled off this deal or even attempted it. Caldwell looks like he is willing to take a few chances – having shored up the defensive line with loads of talent from Seattle and Pittsburgh and right here in Jacksonville.
This also means a few things. The free agency frenzy has slowed down. Mack has always been someone I thought this team should run after, but Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley have waited for the market to slow down and take huge “Big Papi” swing at the player they may have coveted all along. A left side of the offensive line with Luke Joeckel and Zane Beadles and Mack in the middle makes things a lot more interesting with the run game and the protection of Chad Henne. Add Luke Pasztor inside at the other guard slot and maybe a tackle in the second or third round and this line is revamped and rededicated to protecting everyone in the backfield.
According to Nfl.com, “Mack, 28, is an impact player who represents an excellent succession plan at the position. According to official NFLPA records, Cleveland has nearly $31 million in cap space (about $6 million more than the Jags), giving the Browns the financial flexibility to match an offer sheet for the Cal product.”
The Jaguars should take a gamble on this one. With the state of the AFC, the fact this team has been aggressive so far in free agency and that Mack helps players like Toby Gerhart salivate at the idea of running through that kind of run blocking, there is no reason for this team to slow down its pursuit of getting exactly what it wants.
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