Falcons All-Pro Center Plans on Weighing Options

Alex Mack falcons center

Getty Alex Mack #51 of the Atlanta Falcons.

Atlanta Falcons All-Pro center Alex Mack will become an unrestricted free agent once the new season rolls around in March, leaving fans wondering if he will stick around, go elsewhere, or retire as a Falcon.

There is speculation out there that Mack could find himself finishing his career in the Bay Area, following an interview he did with NBC Sports Matt Maiocco.

Mack suiting up for the 49ers would mean he would reunite with his former coach, Kyle Shanahan, which he is a big fan of.

“Kyle is an incredible coach”, Mack said. He’s an incredible coach, great person, strong motivator, and runs an offense that is something that I’d know really well and that I performed very well in.”

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The Niners Need A Center

The 49ers, especially with Shanahan’s zone-blocking scheme, are in need of an athletic veteran center.

“What Kyle has done very well in the past is he’s always been able to link different plays and different schemes so they all look pretty much the same”, Mack continued to praise Shanahan.  “But it takes advantage of the different things a defense will do. It’s a very smart offense, which is fun.”

Looking at the Niners’ center position, Weston Richburg’s future looks uncertain after having multiple knee and shoulder injuries, and Ben Garland and Hroniss Grasu are expected to hit the open market this offseason.

Richburg played 15 games during the 2018 season and it was obvious he wasn’t 100%, then he bounced back in 2019 but didn’t see the field at all in 2020. By letting Richburg go, the Niners would save nearly $4.5 million in cap space, and they need all the cap space they can get this offseason with COVID-19 taking a hit to the team’s cap. 

The Niners had Daniel Brunskill start the first eight games at right guard before moving to center when Garland was injured. San Francisco could use the $4.5 million to acquiring Mack and he would be a huge upgrade from Brunskii.

At 35-years-old, Mack is a very dependable center. He missed just two games this past season but started all 16 games in every season since 2016. Shanahan and Mack go back to when Mack played was drafted by the Browns and played under Shanahan and then, once again, in Atlanta where Shanahan led the Falcons to the Super Bowl.

“Yeah, that said, they (the 49ers) are a very enticing thing,” Mack said. 

“We’ll see what teams are interested and what they have to offer and try to make a decision from there.”

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Mack Had A Goal To Play 10 Years in The League

Mack entered the league as a first-round pick by the Cleveland Browns in 2009. His goal was to play at least 10 seasons. So far, he’s played 12.

Last offseason, Mack told ESPN that his body felt good and he would continue to pay attention to what his body wants him to do, as far as retirement goes.

“I’ll play the year out, see how I feel — how my body works and how much I’m enjoying it — then make the decision at the end of year if I want to keep going or what. The future is unknown, and that’s the way I’m looking at it. Every year is one year at a time: keep going, prepare, and play, and do everything as best as I can. Then I’ll see where I’m at.”

If we have a really good year and do everything we want, and I feel great and they want me back again, absolutely, let’s do it again. There’s no real use in me worrying about it too much now. You take it as it comes. You play the year out and see where things are when it is time to make a decision.”

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