San Francisco 49ers: An Early Look at Locks for the 2016 Roster
Normally, this method produces about 30-40 “locks” for the roster, with some wriggle room along the bottom edges for judgment calls about whether a certain cap hit is prohibitive or a certain player’s performance was really that good.
However, even including questionable cases like Kaepernick and Bethea, the small sample sizes of Carradine and Johnson, and the small cap hits of Bell and Davis, there are only 20 locks on the roster. Even if you attempt to widen the “lock” category to its utmost to include all of the borderline cases, the 49ers’ roster is very much open and in flux.
Coaches often say that every spot on the 53-man roster is an open competition, but that will be more true for the 2016 49ers than it normally is. More than half the roster could legitimately come from anywhere. Will Jarryd Hayne regain his spot on the main roster under Kelly? Which skill position players will Kelly bring in, and from where? Will Alex Boone or Ian Williams re-sign? What about free agents along the offensive line? Where will the 49ers spend their draft capital?
It may not be a truly blank slate like an expansion team would be, but for Kelly and Baalke, next year’s roster has a lot of open room to work with.
Next: How Will Chip Kelly Change the Offense?
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Bryan Knowles is a staff writer on Niner Noise. Follow him @BryKno on Twitter.