Signing Alex Mack could cost Falcons $50 million

FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons are exploring how much it will take to sign free agent center Alex Mack, a three-time Pro Bowler, who voided an $8 million a year contract with the Cleveland Browns.

Prior to the league tampering period opening on Monday, the Falcons said they would continue to look for bargains in free agency. Mack isn’t a bargain and could land a four- or five-year $50 million contract.

“You can hit on some of the mid-line money guys and they are going to have really important role on our team,” general manager Thomas Dimitroff said recently. “We feel like we are going to continue to do that.”

The Falcons are projected to be $33 million under the salary cap at the start of the league’s new business year at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

The Falcons are "very much interested" in Mack, according to a report by Bleacher Report's Jason Cole.

The problem contract for the Falcons is the one Pittsburgh gave to center Maurkice Pouncey on June 12, 2014. The Steelers signed him to a six-year $45.89 million deal that included a $13 million signing bonus.

The Falcons have several needs in free agency, but have placed a premium on fortifying the interior of the offensive line. Mack, 30, would gave quarterback Matt Ryan some serious protection and he’s played one season in the team’s offensive attack under offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

“It’s definitely something that’s at the center of our thinking, in terms of whether if it be free agency or the draft,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said at the combine. “That line of scrimmage position for me is going to be something that years from now we’re going to continue to talk about, just to have that much regard and respect for what happens on the line of scrimmage on both sides. So the center position is one for us.”

The Falcons played a round of musical chairs at the center position last season starting three different players in Mike Person, James Stone and Gino Gradkowski. The Falcons had simple problems with the quarterback and center exchange that led to Ryan having 12 fumbles, second-most in the league. Person was credited with four fumbles.

“I was really pleased with Mike in some areas and some I wasn’t,” Quinn said. “Same thing with Gino. Full competition is going to be on at the spot.”