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Alex Mack, Greg Little saved by Browns' shake-up?

Tuesday's front office shake-up has given two young players a new lease on life with the Cleveland Browns.

Considered as good as gone under outgoing CEO Joe Banner and general manager Michael Lombardi, impending free-agent center Alex Mack and wide receiver Greg Little now have a chance to stick around.


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A source close to Mack has told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport that the two-time Pro Bowl player was set to fly the coop after bad feelings had built up with the old front office. The Browns didn't approach Mack with an offer last offseason and made what he believed to be a "cursory effort" during the 2013 season.

Mack still will test free agency, but the new regime is more interested in retaining him. Owner Jimmy Haslam is a "big fan," per Rapoport.

Little's situation is slightly different.

Although the drop-prone wide receiver still is a year away from free agency, a Browns source had informed Rapoport that Little was "almost certainly" going to be cut this offseason.

With a new coaching staff and general manager in place, the jury is no longer handing the judge a rope.

The Browns lack depth at the position and Little is set to draw less than $800,000 in salary. It makes sense to give the enigmatic receiver another shot to make good on his once promising run-after-catch skills.

Mack and Little aren't the only players with a better chance to stay on the roster. Rapoport would be surprised if the Browns don't apply the franchise tag to safety T.J. Ward in the next month.

During an offseason described by Marc Sessler as a "constantly churning clown car," this news should put a bounce in the step of Browns fans. As two of the best at their respective positions, Mack and Ward are nucleus players this organization cannot afford to lose while building toward playoff contention.

On the latest edition of the "Around The League Podcast," the guys talk Michael Sam, potential big-name cap casualties and offseason forecasts for the Steelers and Jaguars.

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