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Cap Casualties: How about Khalil Mack playing opposite of Nick Bosa?

The veteran is expected to be released by the Chargers. Mack would have an opportunity to play with another Bosa in the Bay Area

Chargers Rams at SoFi Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Both teams in Los Angeles are expected to release their talented starting edge rushers. The Chargers are supposedly parting ways with Khalil Mack, while the Rams will move on from Leonard Floyd.

Floyd is two years younger and coming off three consecutive seasons where he had at least nine sacks. I expect Floyd to be out of the 49ers price range.

Mack is a different story. NFL teams pay for sacks, and Khalil hasn’t had a 10-sack season since 2018. The encouraging sign for Mack is that he started every game last season, and outside 2021, has been relatively healthy during his career.

Cutting Mack would save the Chargers nearly $23 million if he’s designated as a post-June 1 release. Los Angeles is nearly $20 million over the cap heading into the offseason, per Spotrac. So, it’s logical to assume Mack will be on the open market once free agency starts in a week.

The worry would be whether another team would overpay Mack, a seven-time Pro Bowler whose name carries plenty of weight. But the way Paraag Marathe and the 49ers front office manipulate the salary cap, a player the caliber of Mack who fits a need should be on the team’s radar.

Mack got his first taste of what it’s like playing opposite of a Bosa last year, and was a productive rusher. It’d be an easy selling point to play for the 49ers defense and a team that’s a contender.

Signing a veteran such as Mack would allow the 49ers to continue to groom Drake Jackson. With Samson Ebukam likely on the way out, and Charles Omenihu expected to get paid on the open market, pairing a veteran like Mack with Jackson is a win for all parties involved.