New Browns GM Ray Farmer and coach Mike Pettine have decided to pursue re-signing Pro Bowl center Alex Mack, Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland reports.
The team also is making an effort to re-sign Pro Bowl safety T.J. Ward.
Mack and Ward are the marquee names of the Browns’ potential free agents. They are the top priorities because the club has a two-week window, beginning today, to decide whether to apply the franchise or transition designation to them to keep the players from leaving when the free agency signing period begins on March 11.
If the Browns can’t arrive at a new deal for Mack or Ward, they could tag either player – but not both – as their franchise player. The cost of the franchise tag is derived from the average of the top five salary cap numbers at each position.
In the case of Mack, that figure is about $11.126 million for a one-year deal because centers and guards are grouped with the more expensive position of tackle in figuring the top five cap numbers.
Ward’s franchise figure would be approximately $8.021 million.
The transition designation is rarely used. The cost is lower, derived by the average of the top 10 salary cap numbers at each position.
Teams have from now until March 3 to apply the franchise or transition tag.
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