Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers insider discusses the possibility of the team pursuing Khalil Mack

Mar 3, 2023 at 4:13 PM--

Los Angeles Chargers outside linebacker Khalil Mack is signed through the 2024 season. However, he has a salary-cap hit of over $27 million in 2023, leading many to believe the Chargers may be looking to part ways with the talented linebacker.

The Chargers are currently set to be $20.4 million above the $224.8 million salary-cap limit, per, so they must find ways to clear some money. Parting ways with Mack would do that.

General manager John Lynch admitted that the San Francisco 49ers aggressively pursued Mack in 2018, before the Raiders traded him to the Chicago Bears. Mack made the Pro Bowl this past season, his seventh career selection. Could San Francisco look to add the talented pass rusher, pairing him with the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Nick Bosa?

"Absolutely," Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area said Friday on KNBR.

Of course, everything depends on what the Chargers do. Would they trade or release Mack to clear salary-cap space? If it's the former, the 49ers probably don't have the capital to add the veteran pass rusher.

Lynch was recently asked if the 49ers' aggressiveness in the trade market in the past couple of years might contribute to other teams inquiring about trades for their players.

"Probably," Lynch told NBC Sports Bay Area at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, "but I tell them, 'I don't have anything else.' You're calling the wrong dude. Call me in a couple of years when we re-stock."

While San Francisco is expected to own 10 picks in next month's draft, the team lacks a selection in the first two rounds. In 2021, the 49ers traded a haul of draft capital to trade up in the draft to select quarterback Trey Lance. This past season, they traded a lot to add running back Christian McCaffrey.

Regarding Mack, Maiocco says anything is possible. However, he didn't hear anything this week in Indianapolis linking the 49ers to the defender.

"There wasn't much talk of that, anybody I talked to in Indy," Maiocco shared. "But I don't expect the 49ers to add a big-name, high-priced guy. But if they see an opportunity to get somebody, and there's a way to structure a deal that it doesn't crush them, then yeah, they will, definitely.

"Any guy that they like, any guy that Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch are like, 'Man, this guy would be a big-time boost to this team,' they'll look into it. I don't think they have much in the way they'll offer for trade."

If Mack is released, the 49ers can at least consider the possibility. Of course, that would still require some creative work from their chief contract negotiator and EVP of football operations.

"If anyone can do it, Paraag [Marathe] can," Maiocco said.

Maybe the Chargers will find a way to restructure Mack's contract and a few others to get some salary-cap relief in 2023. If that happens, none of this matters. But it's certainly an interesting topic as rumors continue to swirl in Indianapolis.

Mack racked up six-or-more sacks in each of his last eight NFL seasons. He reached opposing quarterbacks eight times in 2022.

You can listen to the entire conversation with Maiocco below.


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