If Cleveland Browns center Alex Mack's highest priority this offseason is winning, he may be as good as gone.
Mack can opt out of the final three years of the five-year, $42-million contract the Browns signed him to when they matched an offer sheet from the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2013. When asked if he planned on exercising the option, Mack gave Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com one big factor in his decision.
The Browns haven't done much winning lately, and will finish 3-13 if they can't upset Kansas City or Pittsburgh in their final two games. The team is 33-77 since drafting Mack with the 21st overall pick in 2009.
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"I will say that winning is really important to me.
"I really like the guys I play with. 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."
Mack had a slow start this season after suffering a broken leg in his fifth game last year, but has upped his play over the last month and was named to his third Pro Bowl this week.
Head coach Mike Pettine, who is facing is own uncertain future with the team, would love to see Mack back in Cleveland, but is aware of the business side of things. The franchise also has an insurance policy after selecting Cameron Erving 19th overall last season, but he has struggled mightily in limited duty this season.
"We don't have much control over that. That's his personal decision. It's in his favor that he has that in his contract. We'll react accordingly. Alex Mack is a Cleveland Brown. We'd love to have him here and be a part of what we are doing, but that is a decision that will be made down the road."
One way to look at the bright side for Browns fans. While Mack did say that winning was important, remember that he did sign his offer sheet with the Jaguars of all teams.