Browns' Mack on opt-out clause: Winning is important


Browns center Alex Mack has the power to opt out of his contract this offseason. Will the Pro Bowl pivot ditch Cleveland for brighter shores?

Here's one gem of a clue:

"I will say that winning is really important to me," Mack said Wednesday, per Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer.

Every game, all season

Mack has the option to opt out after the Browns clumsily placed the transition tag on the mauler after the 2013 campaign. The Jaguars pursued him, furnishing Mack with a five-year, $42 million deal that included a no-trade clause and the option to void the final three years of the pact.

That leaves the Browns vulnerable to lose their top player on offense behind bookend Joe Thomas, although Mack won't say for sure what he plans to do.

"I really like the guys I play with," Mack said. "The other guys on the O-line are great people. They're awesome friends and really good teammates. Like I said, I owe a lot of thanks to them for helping me be a good player."

Still, Cleveland is facing another potential reboot of the coaching staff, which -- if it happens -- would make for Mack's fourth coach since being drafted in 2009. His gritty play and Pro Bowl pedigree will prompt teams with far more in-house stability to come calling.

If he goes, the Browns will be forced to thrust Cameron Erving into action. The first-round lineman was drafted with Mack's exit in mind, but his play has been spotty at best and disastrous in spots for a Cleveland team that can't afford to have another high pick fizzle out. They also can't afford to lose Mack, but that's out of their power now.