How Alex Mack Cleared the Way for the 49ers One Last Time

Alex Mack

Getty Alex Mack walks off the SoFi Stadium field on January 30, 2022, which is now his final game ever as a 49er.

The morning of Wednesday, June 2 for the San Francisco 49ers began with the franchise and perennial Pro Bowl center Alex Mack reaching a new deal — the kind that involved restructuring and taking less money.

Then, before lunch time and via Mike Silver of Bally’s Sports, the longtime center made his 2022 decision: He’s snapped the football one last time.

Mack ends a brilliant run of leading offensive lines in the middle of the trenches — earning seven Pro Bowl appearances and a spot on the All 2010s decade team by the NFL. He also spent his career spearheading Kyle Shanahan-led offenses with his cerebral side in knowing what blitzes and stunts were coming and for setting the trench tone for his outside zone attack. He also proved to be a stout downfield blocker on plays like this one involving Deebo Samuel:

But in the process, Mack’s decision accomplished this for a man known for paving the way for others on the field: He cleared the way for the 49ers one last time before calling it a career. How? By assisting the 49ers with a trio of huge signings on their end.

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49ers Make Key Signings Following Mack’s Decision

As noted earlier on Wednesday morning, ESPN NFL insider Field Yates reported at 6:15 a.m. PT that Mack and the 49ers have agreed to a restructured deal which did the following: Drop his base salary and clear up some salary cap space for the 49ers.

One 49ers reporter, Jack Hammer of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, noted that the team made a similar decision with one retired center a year ago on the same exact date.

Sure enough, Mack’s restructured deal led to retirement. But it also finally cleared up some room for the 49ers to make two key signings.

Draftees Officially Signed After Mack’s Decision

With Mack helping free up room for the 49ers, the front office went straight to work in getting two pivotal members of their offseason additions signed.

The first one? Defensive end Drake Jackson.

Per ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter, the 61st overall pick for the 49ers and their top selection of this past draft haul signed a four-year, $5.8 million deal, which Schefter said was confirmed by Jackson’s agents Drew Rosenhaus and Ryan Matha.

Schefter’s report also came at 11:41 a.m PT — exactly 30 minutes after Silver tweeted that Mack was ending his 13-season career. The Athletic’s 49ers insider David Lombardi added some more intel on the deal Jackson inked, which involved the insider indicating the USC star nearly could’ve taken less money.

Jackson became the first draft signing and certainly not the last.

The next one? Fifth rounder Samuel Womack of Toledo, with his agency announcing he signed a four-year deal with the team that took him No. 172 overall at 11:50 a.m. PT — less than 45 minutes after Silver’s report of Mack retiring.

Lombardi dug further into the contract details involving the cornerback who is expected to line up at multiple spots for the S.F. defense. Among the details? Womack’s $4 million figure mentioned by Lombardi:

But along came one more. One of the top offensive additions in the draft Danny Gray also was signed to a deal up to $5.3 million, per Lombardi at 1:45 p.m. PT.

The 49ers ended up finalizing deals for all nine picks, announced by the team before 3:05 p.m. PT.

But again, none of that would have been made possible by their Pro Bowl center clearing room for the ‘Niners one more time.

One more thing: Lombardi believes Mack also opened up another lane for Samuel without blocking downfield, plus also freed up Nick Bosa:

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