Why Bears may have advantage if Mike McGlinchey becomes FA


One of the big to-do’s for Ryan Poles this offseason will be to retool the Bears offensive line. Protection for Justin Fields was shoddy at times, and a lack of depth at several positions limited the unit’s upside when injuries started to pile up. The problem is, bonafide starters at key positions don’t often hit free agency.

Last week, however, 49ers right tackle Mike McGlinchey spoke frankly about whether or not he’ll return to San Francisco next year.

“I love being here,” McGlinchey said last week via NBC Sports Bay Area. “The Bay has become my home.”

The reality is the money may not make sense for either party.

“It will certainly have a lot to do with it,” McGlinchey said. “I’m not an idiot.

“The opportunity to have life-changing money for my family, that’s definitely a factor that needs to be weighed in for this decision. It’s not the only factor but, yeah…”

There’s a chance McGlinchey doesn’t fit into the 49ers budget, simply because they have serious work to do to keep their Super Bowl-caliber roster intact. In addition to McGlinchey, other big contributors like Robbie Gould, Jimmie Ward and Jake Brendel are set to hit free agency. The 49ers need to start preparing for a Nick Bosa extension, too. His deal expires after the 2023 season, and he could reset the market for pass rushers.


“Everything is on the table,” McGlinchey said. “There are a lot of damn good football players in our locker room and a lot need to be paid, and we certainly have one who is going to break the entire bank.”

If McGlinchey’s future does come down to money, the Bears have more to spend than anyone else in the NFL. According to OverTheCap, the Bears have $93.5 million in cap space this year. The Falcons come in second with $56.5 million.

Bears fans started to bail on McGlinchey after one of his reps against Micah Parsons in the playoffs went viral, but he’s been a reliable right tackle for the 49ers since taking over the position in 2019. He played 94% of the team’s snaps in 2022 and only gave up 27 pressures in 562 passing opportunities according to PFF. McGlinchey has proven to be effective in Kyle Shanahan’s zone run scheme, too, and the Bears deploy a similar rushing attack.

The 49ers will have the exclusive opportunity to negotiate with McGlinchey until March 13 when the free agency negotiation period begins.

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