The San Francisco 49ers made their first wave of roster cuts following their 21-10 preseason defeat at the hands of the Green Bay Packers. Niner Noise looks at each cut and assesses why it happened.
Roster cuts are never easy for NFL teams trying to prepare for the regular season.
The San Francisco 49ers, amid slews of roster questions, trimmed their 90-man roster down to eleven players Saturday. Nine were cut, while others were either traded or placed on injury lists.
Additional transactions can be viewed here when, and if, they happen.
Niner Noise takes a brief look at each transaction and breaks down why it took place.
Teams are required to have no more than 75 players on their roster by Tuesday, August 30 at 4 p.m. ET.
Four more players will need to be moved by the deadline.
The final wave of cuts will take place following the 49ers fourth and final preseason game just ahead of the regular season.
Update: The 49ers have traded offensive guard Brandon Thomas to the Detroit Lions for wide receiver Jeremy Kerley, per CSN Bay Area. The Niners also released offensive lineman Erik Pears and tight end Busta Anderson, per the team’s website.
Cornerback Kenneth Acker
One of the first moves San Francisco made was to send cornerback Kenneth Acker to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for a seventh-round pick, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Acker started 13 games for the 49ers last season. His play fell off towards the tail end of 2015, and he saw a decrease in playing time.
With the infusion of three rookie cornerbacks via the 2016 NFL Draft, the Niners camp competition apparently pushed Acker out of the team’s long-term picture.
Wide Receiver Jerome Simpson
Veteran wideout Jerome Simpson also didn’t survive the first wave of cuts. The 30-year-old receiver was one of the better performers in camp and in the final season of a two-year deal with the 49ers.
Despite some promising moments in training camp, Simpson’s release gives way for the Niners to explore some of their younger options at the position.
The Niners have plenty of question marks here outside of wide receivers Torrey Smith, Bruce Ellington and Quinton Patton.
Wide Receiver DiAndre Campbell
Second-year pro DiAndre Campbell isn’t going to be factoring into the Niners’ wide receiver plans either.
Although he’s still eligible for the practice squad after spending his 2015 rookie campaign there.
“I’m giving it my all to continue this, but if it ends up being two more weeks (in the NFL), I’ll be ready to move on to the next chapter,” Campbell said, via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Running Back Kendall Gaskins
The 49ers have a lot of depth at running back, even with No. 1 tailback Carlos Hyde’s concussion, so Kendall Gaskins’ chances to make the roster were limited at best.
San Francisco still has DuJuan Harris, Shaun Draughn, Mike Davis and rookie Kelvin Taylor to back up Hyde.
Defensive Lineman Darren Lake
San Francisco’s defensive line is still one of the team’s better units, even with minor injuries to defensive linemen Arik Armstead (shoulder) and Quinton Dial (knee).
Rookie D-lineman Darren Lake, an undrafted free agent, was a long-shot to make the roster anyway. Like Campbell, Lake is a candidate for the practice squad if the Niners elect to place him there.
Kicker John Lunsford
The 49ers weren’t going to replace ageless wonder Phil Dawson at kicker, so rookie UDFA John Lunsford winds up being on the first wave of cuts this preseason.
It’s doubtful the Niners would waste a practice squad spot on Lunsford.
Linebacker Wynton McManis
Rookie UDFA linebacker Wynton McManis had to pass over at least one insider — Michael Wilhoite, Ray-Ray Armstrong, Gerald Hodges, Nick Bellore or Shayne Skov.
Bellore and Skov remain, and McManis is the odd man out. He’s still eligible for the practice squad.
Offensive Lineman Blake Muir
The 49ers offensive line is coming together, and the team seemingly has good depth outside the likely starting cast of Joe Staley, Joshua Garnett, Daniel Kilgore, Anthony Davis and Trent Brown.
With Zane Beadles, Andrew Tiller and Fahn Cooper still in the mix, Muir making the 53-man roster was a long-shot possibility.
The Niners could place him on the practice squad if they elect to.
Offensive Guard Ian Silberman
Second-year offensive guard Ian Silberman managed to get into just one game after the 49ers drafted him in Round 6 last season.
As noted previously, the backups for San Francisco’s O-line appear set. So Silberman didn’t have much of a chance to make the roster.
Cornerback Cleveland Wallace
San Francisco signed cornerback Cleveland Wallace during training camp, and it’s pretty clear he was nothing more than a camp body.
Acker’s trade tells us what we need to know about this position — the 49ers like the depth they have here. So Wallace making the cut wasn’t going to happen.
Wide Receiver Eric Rogers
Former CFL standout Eric Rogers was one of the first acquisitions the Niners made after hiring head coach Chip Kelly. But Rogers suffered a torn ACL in camp, and San Francisco finally placed him on season-ending injured reserve.
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Rogers might be a player to watch a year from now if the 49ers still have questions at wide receiver.