Browns use transition tag on Mack

T.J. Ward remains untagged, can test free agent waters.

BEREA, Ohio—The Browns started their re-shaping of their roster last week by releasing defensive captain D'Qwell Jackson.

With the onset of free agency just a week away, the team designated one Pro Bowl player with a designation, while not doing so with another Pro Bowl player.

"The Browns have designated C Alex Mack as their transition player," the team posted on their Twitter account.

Meanwhile, defensive back T.J. Ward will become an unrestricted free agent if the Browns cannot sign him. The Browns have until March 8 to sign him or he will become a free agent on March 11.

The transition designation is seldom used and it means that the Browns will have five days to match any offer that Mack could receive. In other words, the Browns have the right of first refusal. The down side is the Browns would receive no compensation should Mack sign with another team and the Browns choose not to match the offer.

However, the Browns have more room under the salary cap then most all teams in the NFL.

It is believed to be the first time in franchise history that the Browns have used the transition designation. The last time the Browns used the franchise tag was with former Browns kicker Phil Dawson after the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

The Browns did not use the more commonly used franchise designation which means a player would receive the average of the top five players at the offensive line position, which breaks down to approximately $11.6 million for this season The number on the transition designation is slightly over $10 million for this season.

Mack was a first-round draft choice in 2009 and has made the Pro Bowl twice, including this past season. He has played every snap for the Browns since joining the team, a streak of 4,998 consecutive snaps.

Ward ended up in his first Pro Bowl after last season when Troy Polamalu could not play due to injury.

It is believed the Browns have an interest in Bills safety Jairus Byrd, who played for Browns coach Mike Pettine last season. Byrd was franchised by the Bills last season, but declined to do so this year.

Bills GM Doug Whaley issued a statement concerning Byrd.

"…We remain open to getting a deal done with Jairus, but we have chosen not to use the franchise tag on ay of our impending unrestricted free agents."

FRANCHISE PLAYERS

ClubPlayerPosition
CarolinaGreg HardyDE
New OrleansJimmy GrahamTE
New York JetsNick FolkK
WashingtonBrian OrakpoLB

— Note: If a franchise player signs an offer sheet with another club, his prior club has the ability to match that offer to retain the player's rights. If that player joins a new team, his prior club would receive two first-round picks as compensation.

TRANSITION PLAYERS

ClubPlayerPosition
ClevelandAlex MackC
PittsburghJason WorildsLB

— Note: If a transition player signs an offer sheet with another club, his prior club has the right to match that offer. There is no compensation if he joins another team.

TENDER AMOUNTS

FRANCHISEAMOUNTTRANSITIONAMOUNT 
Wide Receiver$12,132,000Wide Receiver$10,176,000
Tight End$7,053,000Tight End$6,106,000
Offensive Linemen$11,654,000Offensive Linemen$10,039,000
Defensive End$13,116,000Defensive End$10,633,000
Defensive Tackle$9,654,000Defensive Tackle$8,060,000
Linebacker$11,455,000Linebacker$9,754,000
Cornerback$11,834,000Cornerback$10,081,000
Safety$8,433,000Safety$7,253,000
Kicker/Punter$3,556,000Kicker/Punter$3,205,000

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