The San Francisco 49ers trimmed their 2017 roster down to 53 players, and many of those were from former general manager Trent Baalke, showing how his efforts have been phased out.
Cutting rosters down to 53 players always marks a tough time on the NFL calendar.
For the 2017 San Francisco 49ers, though, it marks yet another story in the transfer of power from former general manager Trent Baalke to now-GM John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan.
San Francisco 49ers
Not surprisingly, a good chunk of cuts and releases were players Baalke either drafted or picked up by some other means.
A month ago, Lynch parted ways with wide receiver Bruce Ellington — one of Baalke’s mid-round picks from the 2014 NFL Draft. Ellington never accumulated into the kind of slot-type receiver Baalke envisioned, spending the majority of time on injured reserve with various ailments.
And then one can take a look at the slew of cuts made on Sept. 2. Many of those were from Baalke’s hand.
Defensive tackle Quinton Dial, despite being more than serviceable, wasn’t a fit for the Niners’ new 4-3 scheme. And all San Francisco’s D-line investments in recent seasons made him expendable.
The same could be said of wide receiver Jeremy Kerley, whom Baalke acquired in a trade prior to 2016.
Kerley did lead San Francisco in receptions (64) and receiving yards (667) a year ago. But the emergence of rookie receivers Trent Taylor and Victor Bolden pushed the veteran out of the picture too.
There are other receivers affected as well. Remember DeAndre Smelter — another one of Baalke’s now-infamous “All-ACL” picks? Well, he was waived after being a relative non-factor for the Niners. The same goes with wideout Aaron Burbridge, who was placed on the waived/injured list.
To cap it off, the new 49ers regime didn’t envision cornerback Will Redmond — a third-round pick from 2016, who was coming off an ACL injury — as part of its future either.
More strikes on Baalke.
If anything, these moves showcase just how quickly Lynch and Shanahan want to get away from the moves Baalke made over the years.
Yes, there are a few players from the former regime still on the roster. Some, like defensive linemen Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner, should make a substantial impact.
But where it counted — the mid-to-late rounds of the draft — Baalke failed.
And San Francisco is making all moves possible to erase those failures.