Contrary to multiple reports that the Browns are close to losing their top four unrestricted free agents, executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said he’s confident the Browns will be able to retain some of them, if not all of them.
Pro Bowl center Alex Mack has an opt out clause in his contract if a new deal isn’t done by March 4, while Mitchell Schwartz, Travis Benjamin and Tashaun Gipson are all set to become free agents on March 9 if the Browns are not able to come to terms with them.
“We’re working through the process with all of them,” Brown said from the NFL Combine. ((We) are in discussions..not in a panic with any of them.”
Brown said that Mack was in Berea last week, but said if Mack is to remain in Cleveland the Browns will likely need to re-do his deal before the March 4th deadline.
Brown said that having Hue Jackson as the head coach has been a positive with the free agents.
“Jackson has been a big plus,” he said. “Players want to play for him.”
Brown said he doesn't expect to use the franchise or transition tag, but if they used it might be on Tashaun Gipson, but they want to work out a long-term deal. Brown also refuted a report that talks with Benjamin have broken off.
He said that Benjamin’s agent was at the combine and they've met and talks “haven’t broken down."