How 2021 salary cap affects McGlinchey's fifth-year option

Mike McGlinchey, 49ers

NFL teams knew this offseason would present a host of challenges.

Due to declining league revenues amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the salary cap was sure to fall instead of rising as franchises had grown accustomed to, meaning big changes to short- and long-term plans.

NFL franchises were informed of the 2021 salary cap number, which reportedly is $182.5 million. The league and NFL Players Association’s collective bargaining agreement from last season also restructured fifth-year options, bringing more clarity to how much the 49ers can expect to pay tackle Mike McGlinchey if they want to exercise his option for 2022.

Pro Football Talk listed McGlinchey’s fifth-year option salary as $10.88 million, which would be fully guaranteed under the CBA. Previously, fifth-year options were only guaranteed for injury. 

McGlinchey’s figure matches that of Raiders tackle Kolton Miller, who was also drafted in the 2018 first round. Both players reportedly met the criteria for playing time and got the average of the third to 20th salaries at their position.

McGlinchey has anchored the right tackle position for the 49ers in his first three seasons and could have put himself in a better position to make more money if he made a Pro Bowl or two. The 49ers have until May 3 to decide if they want to lock in McGlinchey for a fifth season and extend his rookie deal.

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Overall, the salary cap figure of $182.5 million is $15.7 million smaller than the 2020 salary cap figure of $198.2 million, and about $32.5 million smaller than the $215 million pre-pandemic projection by Over The Cap.


McGlinchey has earned praise for his run-blocking throughout his career but has definitely had his fair share of blunders, like in Week 4 against the Philadelphia Eagles. The NFL will also have to wait and see how the COVID-19 pandemic is doing once the season starts back up and how many fans will be allowed in the stadiums, affecting revenue.

There are still a lot of question marks regarding this decision, but the 49ers have about two months to make it. There are more pressing issues to address when the league year begins March 17, like re-signing left tackle Trent Williams, figuring out quarterback and cornerback. Don’t be surprised if the 49ers leave this one on the backburner before addressing it in April.

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