ESPN’s Field Yates reported 49ers center Alex Mack agreed to a reworked contract where Mack’s base salary drops from $5 million to $1.12 million for the 2022 season, then $3.35 million to $1.165 million in 2023. That move created $4 million in cap space for the Niners, who didn’t have enough money to sign their 2022 draft class.
I doubt Mack willingly takes a pay cut if he’s going to play. Who knows when Mack plans to make an announcement, but it feels as though retirement is imminent. Mack had $500,000 of his 2022 salary guaranteed. With this restructure, that’s now a roster bonus that’ll be paid to Mack in June. As NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo pointed out, these types of restructures happen from players who hang their cleats up soon after, such as Brandon Brooks and Malcolm Jenkins.
This time last year, Weston Richburg retired on June 2. That helped the team split Richburg’s dead money into two years. Mack has done something similar. Now that we’re past June 1, the team would immediately save cap space. So, we await Mack’s decision and potential, perhaps inevitable, Dee Ford cut.
Former Browns center JC Tretter is a popular option. If Mack retires, it’ll be interesting to see whether the 49ers give a guy like Tretter a call or not. 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.