Cleveland Browns: A rookie QB needs Mack and Schwartz
The Cleveland Browns must retain both Alex Mack and Mitchell Schwartz if a rookie quarterback is to have success in 2016.
The Cleveland Browns have been lucky to retain talent along the offensive line in the past.
Joe Thomas is one of the best players in franchise history, and has remained in Cleveland since 2007 even though the team has had little success in that span.
The luck may be running out this season as both Alex Mack and Mitchell Schwartz may be heading elsewhere when free agency begins tomorrow.
Either of those two leaving would open up major holes in the offensive lines, while both leaving would set the team back a great deal heading into the 2016 season.
Losing such talent could even change who the Browns go after with the second overall pick in the draft.
Right now, it seems like the Browns are going to take either Carson Wentz or Jared Goff with that second overall pick. Joey Bosa is another option if he is not selected first overall by the Tennessee Titans.
Let’s say the Browns stick with the plan and select either Goff or Wentz, after losing Mack and/or Schwartz.
The new quarterback will come to a team searching for help along the offensive line. This help could come through the draft or even free agency, but it will be difficult to replace two of the best lineman in the game today.
There is an argument being made by some that the team has not had success with Mack or Schwartz, so maybe a change could lead to different results.
Related Story: Alex Mack, Mitchell Schwartz reportedly drawing interest from NFC teams
This does not make much sense. It ignores the fact that Mack and Schwartz have been constant successes amongst a group of failures. The running game was down this year, but it had more to do with the offense as a whole than these two individuals.
Losing them would only make the offense worse than it already is, neutralizing any help a new quarterback could provide.
The Browns need to make Mack and Schwartz the top priorities right now. Letting Travis Benjamin and Tashaun Gipson leave will do much less damage than losing the two linemen.
Benjamin did well in 2015, but a returning Josh Gordon will help a rookie quarterback much more than Benjamin ever could.
If one disagrees with this, the image of Cameron Erving lining up at center should serve as a reminder to Mack’s value.
Next: 5 options to replace Tashaun Gipson
The Cleveland Browns will open free agency on March 9 with a little more than $48 million in salary cap space to spend. Follow Dawg Pound Daily for all the latest news on free agency as the Browns work to rebuild their roster.