Why the 49ers Have to Pickup Mike McGlinchey's Fifth-Year Option

The 49ers have until May 3 to decide on it, which if they do, Mike McGlinchey will have a fully-guaranteed salary in 2022 at $10.8 million.
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Mike McGlinchey had a rough outing in 2020.

In fact, you could argue that he had the roughest season out of all the 49ers players. 

What was supposed to be a leveling up year for McGlinchey with Joe Staley retired, he completely fell flat on his face. Rather than prove himself a true leader, he became a player that just deflected and neglected accountability.

Since 2020 was a lousy year for him, the 49ers could second-guess whether or not they want to pickup his fifth-year option. They have until May 3 to decide on it, which if they do, McGlinchey will have a fully-guaranteed salary in 2022 at $10.8 million. That might be too much for a player whose ceiling looks to be reached already.

Even with that concern, the 49ers have to pickup McGlinchey's fifth-year option.

Whether you think McGlinchey will be worth the $10.8 million or not, the 49ers will be able to absorb his cap hit. Remember, Jimmy Garoppolo will be gone in 2022, so his contract will no longer be a sore on the salary cap. That means the 49ers can afford some outrageous contracts with a rookie quarterback's salary on the books.

As much as McGlinchey has deserved criticism, he isn't a terrible offensive tackle. His performance gets exaggerated a bit because he is a top-10 draft pick. He doesn't remotely look like a value pick right now, especially since Kolton Miller of the Raiders looks dramatically better. The Raiders were going to take McGlinchey had he fell to them at 10th, but thanks to the coinflip at the NFL combine, the 49ers swooped up McGlinchey.

If the 49ers were to decline his fifth-year option, then all of a sudden they are back in the same boat where they are looking for an offensive tackle for the third-consecutive offseason. At least by picking up his option, the 49ers grant him a chance at redeeming himself in 2021. 

Earlier in the offseason, I wrote an article on how the offseason could benefit McGlinchey. He desperately needed it to hit the reset button because mentally he seemed a wreck. He was letting people on twitter get to him, when he really should be worried about the opponent for the week.

Gaining weight, cleaning up his technique, and even having a better quarterback will make him improve. Plus, I am sure the 49ers are reluctant to decline his option. That would signify that they whiffed two years in a row on their first-round pick.

Offensive tackle is a critical position. Even if McGlinchey is just average, the 49ers can live with his salary in 2022 to better prepare for his replacement if they need to go that route.