North Notes: Mack, Browns, Lions, Vikings

Speaking to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link) this week at Pro Bowl practices, Browns center Alex Mack said that he has yet to make a final decision on whether he’ll opt out of his contract this winter. According to Mack, he’ll start seriously considering his options after the Super Bowl, with a decision to follow within the next month or so.

Cole suggests that Mack will likely exercise that opt-out, which comes as no surprise — even if the veteran center ultimately wants to stay in Cleveland, it would make sense for him to sign a new contract with the team. Mack’s current pact calls for $8MM annual salaries for the next three seasons, and only his 2016 salary would be guaranteed if he opts in, so he should be able to easily exceed that deal on the open market.

As we wait to find out what Mack decides, let’s check in on some other items from out of the NFL’s North divisions…

  • Browns head coach Hue Jackson hasn’t been in touch with quarterback Johnny Manziel yet, but he has sat down and spoken with North Dakota State signal-caller Carson Wentz, writes Mary Kay Cabot of Wentz, a potential target for Cleveland in the first round of this year’s draft, met with Jackson and the Browns at the Senior Bowl. “This just starts the process of getting to know these young players,” Jackson said. “It’s just phase one of the process. It’s just good to be able to talk to as many guys as we could. It was good to talk to him and find out a little bit about him and I’m sure I’ll get an opportunity to find out a little more as we go.”
  • The Lions have hired former Giants director of football operations Matt Harriss as their new vice president of football administration, the team announced today. Harriss is expected to play a significant role in managing the Lions’ salary cap.
  • Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune wonders if the Vikings ought to bring in some competition for punter Jeff Locke in 2016. As Vensel details, Locke’s production has trended in the wrong direction in recent years, so it would make sense for Minnesota to bring in a young punter to push him.
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