The 49ers have likely known for a while, but Alex Mack is officially retiring this offseason, leaving the offensive line with a gaping hole needing to be filled.
After months of speculation and rumor, NFL insider Mike Silver reported the San Francisco 49ers were indeed going to lose their veteran Pro Bowl center, Alex Mack, to the retirement queue.
There had been reports the 36-year-old Mack was mulling over retirement, particularly after getting married during the offseason and in the wake of a 13-year career with the Cleveland Browns, Atlanta Falcons and Niners.
And while San Francisco might have been aware of Mack’s intentions, Thursday’s news effectively made it official:
Mack reworked his deal just before news of his retirement broke, suggesting this decision was imminent.
And while the 49ers will benefit from some increased cap space, they have a bigger question to answer.
Who replaces Mack at center?
49ers option to replace Alex Mack No. 4: Dohnovan West
It’s usually a reach to thrust an undrafted free agent like former Arizona State center Dohnovan West into a starting lineup right out of the gate.
But make no mistake, West should have been a drafted player. Exactly how he slipped through all seven rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft and onto the Niners’ offseason roster is anyone’s guess, but San Francisco certainly shouldn’t complain.
The 6-foot-3, 296-pound West was a three-year starter for the Sun Devils, and that experience should bode well as he transitions into the NFL ranks. And while he was a UDFA player, there were plenty of mocks out there suggesting he’d easily be a Round 4 pick, some even going as far to suggest he could be grabbed in the third round, too.
Still, West is a rookie, and he might be the least favorable option San Francisco has to replace Mack.