The Cleveland Browns had a busy weekend before starting their offseason program today. The Browns brought in players for private workouts, including Jimmy Garoppolo and signed free agent Nate Burleson to a one-year deal. This offseason has had tons of news for the Browns because of their cap space and draft picks. The biggest news this weekend was that Alex Mack was meeting with the Jaguars, who may try to sign him even with a transition tag placed on him.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are going to try to make it hard for the Browns to keep Alex Mack. Mack, a Pro-Bowl center, was given a transition tag that allows for the Browns to match any offers that the player may get from another team. So far during the free agency frenzy, Mack’s name hasn’t been one that has been coming up as much as he wanted it to. Teams seem to be uneasy because they don’t normally want to pay a center over $10 million dollars. Jacksonville has the cap to bring in Mack, but the Browns have said that they will match an offer up to $22 million in guaranteed money.
The Browns also made headlines this weekend by signing a veteran wide out in Nate Burleson. Burleson, who spent the last 4 seasons aside Calvin Johnson in Detroit, will play a huge role in the locker room as a mentor to the younger Browns wide receivers. Burleson will also look to contribute on the field. Although he only played in 9 games last season, he was able to get 461 yards and a touchdown. Cleveland’s wide receiver corps is a very young (Greg Little has the most experience going into his 4th season) and talented but needs the leadership of a veteran like Burleson. Burleson was signed to a one-year deal, making him a free agent next offseason.
The Cleveland Browns will get to open up their offseason program today. They are only one of seven teams allowed to open early because they have a new head coach. Today starts Phase 1, where only strength and conditioning coaches are allowed to work with players on offseason workouts or injury rehabilitation. Players are only allowed to compete in dead (no) ball drills except for quarterbacks, who can throw to wide receivers that are not being covered.
The Browns will of course be making more news with less than 5 weeks left until the NFL Draft. More private workouts will be in store, including Johnny Manziel. The Browns have made the most of this offseason, and the drama will only continue all the way up to training camp.