The Browns are getting a lot of buzz as a potential playoff team in 2018, and adding Khalil Mack could turn those dreams into a Cleveland reality.
Hard Knocks has fans all over the country overestimating the ability of the Cleveland Browns at the moment. As the roster currently stands, they’re not a team anyone should expect to make the playoffs. If they can add Khalil Mack to their defense, their chances of reaching the postseason will increase dramatically.
When Hue Jackson was asked about the team’s possibility of adding Mack, he certainly didn’t do anything to play down the possibility. He told reporters that “nothing is off the table” for the Browns. Mack, of course, is believed to be on the trading block in Oakland because of the team’s unwillingness to hand him the mega contract he desires.
It would likely cost the Browns a first-round pick to get a deal done, but it’s a risk worth taking for GM John Dorsey. Adding Mack to Myles Garrett on the Cleveland defensive line would transform the group from a weakness to strength overnight. In fact, Mack might be enough to push the unit into the NFL’s top 10. Don’t forget, the organization spent a high pick on cornerback Denzel Ward in April’s draft. They have high hopes about his ability to solidify their secondary.
The presence of Garrett, Ward and Mack on Gregg Robinson’s defense would give Cleveland three potential Pro Bowlers. In particular, it would make it really difficult for opponents to throw the football against them. Given the prevalence of pass-happy offenses in the NFL today, that would be an excellent strength for the Browns to build around.
Cleveland’s abundance of cap space would allow them to sign Mack to a long-term contract with ease. Current projections have the Browns with more than $58 million in space currently. Mack will be looking for a deal that will pay him upwards of $20 million per season. The Browns are one of the few teams in the NFL who could frontload his contract and still have plenty of room to spare.
At the very least, the Browns owe it to their fans to call the Raiders and see if there is a way to swing this kind of seismic deal. It’s the sort of transaction that could make Cleveland’s last two dismal years seem like a distant memory.