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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

49ers considered trading Mike McGlinchey last year

Mar 25, 2023 at 8:36 AM--

Mike McGlinchey received a life-changing payday, signing a five-year, $87.5 million deal with the Denver Broncos. The offensive tackle has known for a while that he would not return to the San Francisco 49ers, the only NFL team he has played for and the one that made him the No. 9 overall pick in 2018.

General manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan made it clear to McGlinchey that he was likely playing his final months for the team. There was too much money invested in other spots, and the 49ers knew they couldn't compete with other interested teams.

Behind the scenes, Lynch and Shanahan kept McGlinchey in the loop of what the team was thinking, and everything pointed to the tackle playing elsewhere in 2023 … maybe even sooner.

"There were no surprises, that's for sure," McGlinchey told ESPN's Nick Wagoner. "… After the 2021 season, they both told me, 'We may even look to move you at some point. We're projecting into the future, and we think you're going to get priced out. We want to get something in return.'"

Of course, nothing ever came of that. McGlinchey played his fifth and final year in the Bay Area, which he and his wife, Brooke, called home.

Once the 2022 season started, Lynch and Shanahan continued to be honest with McGlinchey.

"They were clear that, barring something out of the ordinary, I wouldn't be back," McGlinchey said. "It was a money thing, and they told me point blank. 'We'd love to have you back, but we can't stretch ourselves too thin.'"

Trent Williams was already averaging about $23 million per season. There was no way the 49ers could match a deal like the Broncos', which offered McGlinchey $17.5 million.

San Francisco liked McGlinchey. He was undoubtedly one of the best players on the open market this offseason. For 49ers fans, though, he could sometimes be frustrating to watch, often being overpowered and tossed aside by some of the more impressive defensive linemen in the league.

While Williams is consistently among the best offensive linemen in the NFL, McGlinchey is another story. Pro Football Focus graded Williams (93.0 overall) as the best tackle in the NFL this past season. Meanwhile, McGlinchey's 71.5 overall grade ranked 29th among NFL tackles. Per Pro Football Focus, he was responsible for nearly twice as many pressures as Williams in 2022. The analytics site credits McGlinchey for six sacks allowed this past season. Williams was credited with one allowed.

Still, being one of the more prominent names in free agency potentially means a big payday. The Broncos came calling minutes after the negotiating period started, and soon after, McGlinchey's agent called with the contract details. It was a no-brainer.

"I didn't know what to expect out of this process," McGlinchey admitted. "I'd never been in an open negotiation like this before, but I knew what the top right tackles were getting and I think I'm a top right tackle. I think other teams will agree, and this -- a big offer right at the start from a team that clearly agreed -- was obviously the best-case scenario."

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