49ers Make Key $4 Million Decision With Pro Bowler: Insider

Alex Mack Jimmy Garoppolo

Getty Alex Mack and Jimmy Garoppolo during the 49ers' November 28, 2021 home win over the Vikings.

The San Francisco 49ers and their Pro Bowl veteran center have come to one agreement — an agreement that helps give the franchise some salary cap room.

Per ESPN NFL insider Field Yates on the morning of Thursday, June 2, the 49ers and Alex Mack, who has been the subject of retirement talk, have agreed to a restructured deal.

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“49ers C Alex Mack — who is contemplating his football future — agreed to a reworked deal in which his base salary drops from $5M to $1.12M this year and $3.35M to $1.165M next year,” Yates tweeted at 6:15 a.m. PT.

But Yates included one more pivotal monetary number that gets attached to this decision.

“The Niners add over $4M in cap space for now, though perhaps may need to find another C soon,” Yates said.

What This All Means for Mack & 49ers

If there’s a history lesson in this restructured move, it points to retirement still being on the table for the 36-year-old center who has earned seven Pro Bowl nods, three second team All-Pro selections, a captain nod and became a member of the All 2010s decade team.

“Sure feels like an indication Alex Mack is retiring. Saints did this recently with retiring players, including (Drew) Brees, to save cap space,” was what Locked on 49ers podcast host Brian Peacock tweeted.

Jack Hammer, 49ers reporter for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, pointed out that the franchise pulled a similar tactic with a past player at Mack’s position one year ago.

“This sounds similar to what the 49ers did with Weston Richburg last offseason,” Hammer tweeted. That move allowed the 30-year-old Richburg to retire on June 2 of 2021.

Lastly, NFL Network insider Mike Garafolo added some extra layers to Yates’ report — including how it’s intertwined with other pre-retirement decisions from two other NFL players.

“Alex Mack had $500k of his 2022 salary guaranteed. As part of the restructure, it was converted into a roster bonus to be paid this month,” Garafolo tweeted. “This is the kind of restructure we’ve seen recently from players who then retire once it’s official (e.g. Brandon Brooks, Malcolm Jenkins).”

Free Agent Center Now Being Mentioned as Potential Backup Plan

With Mack still in a place where his future is being decided, especially as the 49ers continued on with Organized Team Activities (OTAs) to start June, fans are asking: Are the 49ers settled with the center spot without Mack?

Here are the options the 49ers have toyed with during OTAs: Jake Brendel, Dohnovan West and Jason Poe. The latter two players arrived to the Bay Area as undrafted free agents from the 2022 NFL Draft.

But there is one free agent veteran name still floating around as a potential addition should general manager John Lynch, head coach Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers should they pivot that direction: Former Cleveland Browns center J.C. Tretter.

“If Mack retires, it’ll be interesting to see whether the 49ers give a guy like J.C Tretter a call or not,” was what the Niners Nation on SB Nation Twitter account mentioned online on Thursday. “History would suggest Shanahan wants a veteran center. Tretter’s presence may be necessary with Trey Lance under center and two first-year starting guards.”

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