The San Francisco 49ers have until 4 p.m. ET on Sept. 1 to finalize their 53-man roster, meaning plenty of roster cuts need to be made. Let’s break down those we know.
The days and hours after the NFL’s final preseason games are never fun for any player on the fringes of a team’s roster.
For the San Francisco 49ers, there are plenty of tough decisions — many more than what took place after the wholesale roster turnover we saw a year ago after head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch took over.
The deadline for all teams to finalize their 53-man rosters ahead of Week 1 is by 4 p.m. ET on Sept. 1.
Williams, the Niners’ fourth-round selection from the 2017 NFL Draft, struggled with consistency and ball security his first two training camps at the pro level. San Francisco redshirted him his rookie season with an ankle injury, hoping he’d make the case for consideration this year. But after another disappointing preseason effort, along with a rib and hip injury, Williams’ time with the Niners has come to a close.
Same with the recently acquired Ja’Quan Gardner, the running back out of Humboldt State, who didn’t see any offensive snaps during the Niners’ preseason finale.
San Francisco also made a number of moves to trim its offensive line, waiving linemen Chris Gonzales, Pace Murphy and Darrell Williams Jr., according to The Athletic’s Matt Barrows and NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco (h/t Niners Wire).
J.P. Flynn was also listed on the team’s releases.
Williams looked shaky during his final preseason advertisement, giving up two sacks as a starter against the Chargers. To bolster the depth at tackle, and also to provide support/roster competition to swing tackle Garry Gilliam, the Niners sent off a seventh-round draft pick to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for offensive lineman Shon Coleman, as announced on the team’s website.
Maiocco also reported the 49ers cut veteran wide receiver Aldrick Robinson, who had worked extensively under Shanahan with the Atlanta Falcons. Wide receiver figured to be a crowded position battle heading into training camp. And with the emergence of rookie wideouts, Dante Pettis and Richie James, Robinson’s chances were slim to begin with.
Additionally, defensive lineman Will Sutton and tight end Wes Saxton were waived.
Veterans with four accrued seasons at the NFL level immediately become free agents after being cut. Players with less than that go through waivers, where other teams (via a specific order) can put in claims. That’s a primary obstacle to first- and some second-year players, who remain eligible, to being placed on a team’s 10-man practice squad.
The Niners also parted ways with punter Jeff Locke (no surprises there).
San Francisco officially announced 12 players waived or cut outright, meaning out of the 88 players on the Niners roster Friday morning, the team still has 22 more removals to make, not counting player suspensions, by the deadline Saturday.
Also of note, wide receiver Victor Bolden (suspension) and linebacker Reuben Foster (suspension) won’t count towards the 49ers’ 53-man roster to open the regular season.