49ers Could ‘Absolutely’ Pursue 7-Time Pro Bowl Defender: Insider

Jimmy Garoppolo Khalil Mack

Getty Jimmy Garoppolo gets wrapped up by Khalil Mack on November 13, 2022 in Santa Clara.

Last offseason, the San Francisco 49ers made their splash signing with cornerback Charvarius Ward. Then during the season it was the trade to land Christian McCaffrey.

Now, there’s a lot of chatter that the Los Angeles Chargers could be parting ways with seven-time Pro Bowl edge rusher Khalil Mack — who’s got a salary cap hit of over $27 million for 2023 which helps spark the belief the Bolts could release him. Could the 49ers hop on the opportunity to add the three-time All-Pro?

“Absolutely,” 49ers insider Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area told the Papa and Lund Show on KNBR Friday, March 3.

Wouldn’t be First Time 49ers Pursued Mack if He’s Available

To reiterate, the Chargers haven’t made their official decision yet. But a lot could transpire between Friday and the March 15 free agency signing period. Already, the city of L.A. has seen one decorated defender get the greenlight to move on, as the rival Rams parted ways with Bobby Wagner.

And if Mack becomes available to teams and the 49ers make a dash for him, it wouldn’t be the first time S.F. has aimed to pilfer Mack.

In 2018, general manager John Lynch revealed in a conference call with reporters that the 49ers made their attempt to land the then-former Oakland Raiders edge rusher — with Lynch saying “Yes, we would have been foolish not to (pursue Mack). The guy is a spectacular player, and we’ve always said we’re going to exhaust every option to improve our team. We did. We went in aggressively but also knowing that we had to set some parameters. We did, and somebody else landed him, and we’re excited about our team.”

Ultimately, the 49ers would go on and draft Nick Bosa at No. 2 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Insider Continued to Dive Into Possibility of a Mack/49ers Pairing

While Maiocco shared how there wasn’t much talk from the 49ers’ brass in Indianapolis during the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine about exploring the possibility of Mack being lured to the Bay Area, the insider and columnist still says “anything is possible.”

“There wasn’t much talk of that, anybody I talked to in Indy,” Maiocco shared. “But I don’t expect the 49ers to add a big-name, high-priced guy. But if they see an opportunity to get somebody, and there’s a way to structure a deal that it doesn’t crush them, then yeah, they will, definitely.”

Though Mack is getting older, he’s still proven to be a valuable pass rusher. Mack produced eight sacks in his first season with the Chargers and playing for head coach Brandon Staley. He also delivered 12 tackles for a loss, his most in that category since his last season with the Raiders when he delivered 15.

Maiocco adds that when it comes to players the head coach and GM “really likes,” they’re not going to ignore the possibility of going after that player and locking him in.

“Any guy that they like, any guy that Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch are like, ‘Man, this guy would be a big-time boost to this team,’ they’ll look into it,” Maiocco said. “I don’t think they have much in the way they’ll offer for trade.”

But Maiocco concludes: “If anyone can do it, Paraag [Marathe] can,” in reference to the 49ers’ executive vice president.

The Chargers could still attempt to restructure Mack’s deal to clear up some needed cap space, as they’re over $20.391 million in the red per Over the Cap. But for a team that has Samson Ebukam and Charles Omenihu as unrestricted free agents, Mack would become a blockbuster replacement and form a nightmarish edge tandem with Bosa.

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