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Alex Mack praises Shanahan, says playing for the 49ers is ‘very enticing’

Would the veteran be willing to take a Shanahan style discount if necessary?

Atlanta Falcons v Green Bay Packers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The 49ers need to find a veteran center. Daniel Brunskill filled in admirably this past season, but, in Kyle Shanahan’s offense, it’s evident that you need a player who has experience. The center position is arguably the most important position upfront in Shanahan’s offense as he has to make all of the calls as far as blitzing and where the line slides.

Atlanta Falcons unrestricted free agent center Alex Mack spoke to NBC Sports Matt Maiocco, where he spoke highly about his former offensive coordinator:

“Kyle is an incredible coach. 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.

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. But it takes advantage of the different things a defense will do. It’s a very smart offense, which is fun.”

Shanahan dictates what defenses do by the formation and then manipulates the defense with his play-calls. It’s simple, but Mack is correct. It’s a smart and easy way to move the ball efficiently.

Now, the 49ers still have Weston Richburg under contract. The Richburg signing was a failed experiment. While he played 15 games during the 2018 season, it was evident Richburg wasn’t 100%. He was terrific in 2019, and we saw how valuable a quality center meant to this offense. Then, Richburg never stepped onto the field in 2020.

Releasing Richburg after knee and shoulder injuries makes sense as the Niners haven’t been able to count on their former prize free-agent center. If cut, San Francisco would save $4.5 million in cap space. That money could presumably go straight to Mack, who brought up playing for the 49ers:

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

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

Between Mack, Gurley, and Gore, veterans are lining up to play for Shanahan. Mack would fill an immediate need. Mack missed two games this past season but has started all 16 games in every season since 2009 except for 2014. That’s somebody you can depend on, which is what the 49ers need. It doesn’t hurt that Mack is also an upgrade from Brunskill.

Mack played in Cleveland and Atlanta with Shanahan and is the easiest free agent to connect the dots to early on in the process. San Francisco would be wise to invest in a veteran center this offseason, and Mack makes the most sense.