49ers free-agent target No. 1: Center J.C. Tretter
If veteran Pro Bowl center Alex Mack rebuffs the notion he’s going to retire this offseason, this is a moot point. And the fact San Francisco didn’t draft a pure center suggests he won’t, although the undrafted free-agent pickup of Arizona State’s Dohnovan West is surely intriguing enough.
West was frequently pegged as a third- or fourth-round prospect, after all.
Let’s assume for a moment that Mack either remains undecided or is actually planning to hang up his cleats, thereby creating a major void at a position of great importance to Kyle Shanahan.
Shanahan has historically been reluctant to offer this role to a rookie or second-year player, meaning West likely won’t step in right away if Mack retires.
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The contingency plan? Grab former Cleveland Browns center J.C. Tretter.
Tretter, 31 years old, has played in Shanahan-like offenses before, so that part of the transition wouldn’t be too difficult. And with Trey Lance poised to take over duties under center, it would be another smart play to have some serious experience in front of him instead of a first-year UDFA like West.
The 49ers may have to pay Tretter a bit more than bargain-basement value, as teams are always wise to scramble for above-average offensive linemen after the draft.
But if Mack is retiring, that’d be the wisest of plays.