We’re going to do Thursday roundtables this offseason, and start with one of the more polarizing players on the 49ers.
The 49ers drafted Mike McGlinchey ninth overall in 2018. Health has to be at the forefront when deciding if a free agent fits into your future plans. McGlinchey played over 1,000 snaps in three of his five seasons.
Today’s question is simple: Should the 49ers re-sign Mike McGlinchey at market value?
Here’s a look at the 15 highest-paid right tackles, per Over the Cap:
Kyle: Yes, unquestionably
Valuation is as important as evaluation. And no team knows the worth of Mike McGlinchey, or the health of an offensive lineman, than the 49ers.
McGlinchey is an above average right tackle. There are plays, like in the Cowboys game, where McGlinchey will get rag-dolled and put on a highlight. But we never hear about the 30-40 other plays where McGlinchey dominates in the running game or keeps the quarterback upright.
This past year, McGlinchey allowed one quarterback hit and a sack from the time Brock Purdy took over through the NFC Championship game. At 29, without a clear upgrade and a young quarterback destined to start, continuity will be critical up front.
Marc: It depends on quarterback
It’s an easy yes if the Niners can re-sign McGlinchey to a deal that pays him around $8-10 million a year, with an even lower cap hit in the first year of the deal.
However, I expect McGlinchey’s market to reach $12-$15 million a year, and that makes things a lot more complicated. Given the 49ers salary cap situation, to me, re-signing McGlinchey is entirely based on the additional financial commitments they are going to make at quarterback.
Brock Purdy’s injury likely ensures the Niners are going to add a veteran quarterback to the mix this offseason. If that player takes a cap hit of $10 million or less next season, re-signing McGlinchey at a higher number is feasible. But if the Niners will have to dedicate more than $20 million in cap space to sign someone like Tom Brady, they probably have to let him walk.
Andrew: Yeah, they probably should
McGlinchey gets a lot of blame for how solid of a tackle he is. Does he allow that one pressure every game where he looks silly on tape? Yeah, I can give you that, but overall, he’s anywhere from a solid to a good right tackle who had one of the better seasons of his career in 2022. McGlinchey played a career-high 1,210 snaps this season, allowing six sacks and 36 pressures. While the sacks are tied for his career-high, the 36 pressures allowed were the fewest he’s allowed in a season where he played in every game.
The 49ers still get some scrutiny for where they selected McGlinchey in the 2018 NFL Draft, but at some point it becomes less about where a player was selected and more about if they are a quality NFL starter. McGlinchey does qualify as a quality NFL starter, and the 49ers should focus on bringing the veteran right tackle back.
Yinon: Without a better option... Big Mike gets a big bag
Without a clear upgrade apparent, I think Mike will get the bag from the QB-injury-addled 49ers.
Tackle feels like one of those positions in the NFL where if you hit average competence, you are above the median, and you will get paid for your services because of both how scarce that level of competence is and how critical that position is for everything the offense does. There’s just so many bad tackles out there that a mediocre tackle is considered above average. Trent Williams 2.0 ain’t walking through that door (let’s hope Trent Williams 1.0 is walking through that door) so we’re gonna have to give the CEO a raise.
It’s like in the NBA - if you’re over 6’6 and can shoot at least 38% from three, you will always have a contract in the NBA. Those dudes will miss nearly two thirds of the time, and NBA executives will compete on paying them millions of dollars. Mike feels like one of those guys to me - you just need wings that can defend and hit open shots to survive in the NBA, and you need a competent right tackle.
Jason: Yes, where is the clear-cut upgrade?
McGlinchey was drafted to help run block in Shanahan’s scheme. Hand-picked, if you will. Coming off a major injury that some players had to retire from isn’t an easy thing. Playing with two broken ribs throughout the season isn’t either. No lineman is perfect, but McGlinchey’s losses in pass protection are magnified to the highest degree.
Hard to argue against something that hasn’t been a strength his entire career, which is pass protection. This season certainly didn’t boost his case with a pass block win rate of 89.6 percent according to ESPN. That ranked 32nd for all tackles. What people leave out is how he impacts the running attack. McGlinchey’s run block win rate ranked fifth in the NFL at 81.2 percent.
Combine the fact that this organization and front office clearly like McGlinchey and the lack of clear-cut upgrades in free agency (spare me the “anyone is an upgrade” argument) and it makes for a perfect storm of circumstances for a reunion.
Sure, you can draft an offensive tackle, but that’s a risk in itself. Can you guarantee that the replacement can be relied on? You can hope, but you can’t guarantee.