Yes, I said it then and I still believe it now, letting Alex Mack and Mitchell Schwartz leave made perfect sense for what the Browns are trying to accomplish in 2016. The statement, then and now, has nothing to do with a youth movement.
Schwartz and Mack decided to leave regardless of what the Browns were offering. Mack tried to leave two years prior during restricted free agency. Only a matching offer by the Browns kept him in Cleveland during Mike Pettine’s tenure. Once Mack had a chance, he rejoined offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan in Atlanta where his skill set will be maximized. The Browns offered Schwartz more money than what he got from Kansas City. It was a good decision for Schwartz, as his skill set fits exactly what the Chiefs offense is trying to accomplish.
Neither of their skill sets fit the power-run scheme the Browns sought to employ this season. Mack is a quick, athletic center whose skill set fits the zone-run scheme. But the power-run scheme requires a bigger, stronger lineman. Schwartz was drafted to play in the West Coast passing system. In theory his skill set works for the Browns passing offense. However, a right tackle in Jackson’s scheme needs to be a run blocker first and pass blocker second. Schwartz is a pass blocker first and run blocker second. The Browns went with a right tackle whose primary asset was run blocking. It was the correct decision.
I won’t go so far as to say the Browns have a better offensive line this season. I will say the Browns have a better offensive line for what they are doing schematically. They were built to run the football and pass protect well enough to succeed in a quick passing game.