The 49ers reportedly reduced center Alex Mack’s salary to create $4 million in immediate cap room in a move that could be seen as a precursor for his retirement.
Mack agreed to a re-worked contract that drops is scheduled base salary from $5 million to $1.12 million this year, ESPN’s Field Yates reported Thursday morning.
Also, Mack’s scheduled $3.35 million salary for next year was reduced to $1.165 million, according to the report.
Neither general manager John Lynch nor coach Kyle Shanahan has stated whether the team expects Mack to return for a 14th NFL season. Both men have said any announcement on Mack’s future will come directly from Mack, who got married this offseason.
It seems unlikely at this stage in his career, Mack would play for a salary near the league minimum for a player of his NFL experience.
Mack, 36, is a seven-time Pro Bowl player and an NFL All-Decade selection for the 2010s. After seven seasons with the Cleveland Browns and five years with the Atlanta Falcons, Mack came to the 49ers last year on a three-year contract.
In the expected event that Mack steps away, the 49ers’ current options at starting center are Jake Brendel, the backup last season, and Daniel Brunskill, who started at right guard. Third-year pro Keaton Sutherland is also seeing practice snaps at center during organized team activities.
The 49ers drafted Nick Zakelj of Fordham in the sixth round. The club believes he has the ability to eventually play center. The 49ers also signed undrafted rookie center Dohnovan West of Arizona State.
Former Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter is considered the top available center on the free-agent market.