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Alex Mack is expected to return in 2022; Dee Ford's time with the 49ers is likely up

Lynch isn’t worried about the futures of Deebo Samuel or Nick Bosa. They’ll be Niners.

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

49ers general manager John Lynch spoke about more than his quarterback situation Monday during the NFL’s owners’ meetings.

Question marks remain along the offensive line. According to Lynch, the Niners won’t have to worry about finding a new center for this upcoming season, as Alex Mack is expected to return:

“He’s training like he’s coming back. I won’t speak for him but all signs are him coming back and being a part of us.”

Mack, who turns 37 in November, is under contract through the 2023 season. However, there’s no more guaranteed money remaining on Mack’s deal. I wouldn’t be surprised if the team drafted Mack’s replacement in this year’s draft.

While Mack will return, the same cannot be said for Dee Ford. Lynch said, “I don’t see a lot of hope in him being a factor for us on the field moving forward.”

The 49ers have patiently worked with Ford during the past couple of seasons, but his body hasn’t responded. Lynch’s words sound like Ford’s days are numbers and a post-June-1 designation release is inevitable.

Per Over the Cap, releasing Ford means San Francisco eats $5.82 million in dead money this season and in 2023. That number dips to $920,000 from 2024-to-2026. So, the 49ers will be affected by Ford’s contract to the tune of $14.4 million in dead money stretched out over the next five seasons.

If only there was a way for the 49ers to mitigate Ford’s contract.

Lynch also made it clear that Deebo Samuel and Nick Bosa will be Niners for the foreseeable future. He said there’s been good communication between both parties and there’s a plan to retain each player: Those guys are gonna be a part of us for a long, long time.