Grading C Alex Mack’s deal with the 49ers: A+

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Doug Farrar
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Alex Mack was the Browns’ starting center for just five games in 2014 when Kyle Shanahan spent that season in Cleveland as the team’s offensive coordinator, but Shanahan saw enough to persuade the Falcons to sign Mack to a five-year, $45 million deal in 2016, when Shanahan was Atlanta’s offensive coordinator, and the Falcons rode Shanahan’s offensive concepts to their only Super Bowl appearance. Now, with the news that the 49ers have signed Mack to a one-year, $5.5 million deal, Shanahan and Mack are together again for the third time.

It’s a necessary move for San Francisco, as the Weston Richburg deal never quite worked out due to multiple injuries, and Shanahan had to alternate between Daniel Brunskill and Ben Garland at center with mixed results. Mack may not be what he was at his Pro Bowl peak, but he’s a tough blocker who allowed just one sack and 25 total pressures last season. And he obviously has more than a passing familiarity with Shanahan’s multi-tiered, motion-heavy offense, which is a big plus. The big news about San Francisco’s offensive line is obviously Trent Williams’ mega-deal, but this is a sneaky-good signing that will improve that line in the short term.