The San Francisco 49ers were forced to make some difficult decisions when they trimmed their roster down to 53 players by the NFL’s deadline on Saturday. Many of the cuts garnered criticism from fans, but these five roster moves should benefit the team in 2019 — and going forward.
It’s easy for fans to fall in love with preseason stars who excel against the NFL roster long shots who are left on the field in the closing minutes of each exhibition matchup. Very few of the NFL’s preseason statistical leaders or players who lead last-minute preseason comebacks become viable regular season players, although there are exceptions.
Look no further than San Francisco 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens, who outplayed fellow QB C.J. Beathard last season, only to be sent back to the 49ers’ practice squad. Mullens was promoted to San Francisco’s active roster by the end of September, and won the team’s starting quarterback job for the remainder of 2018 just a month later.
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However, Mullens is the exception and not the rule, and was forced to participate in an alleged “quarterback competition” he should have won long ago. And for each player like Mullens who defies the odds, there are hundreds of players similar to running back Kory Sheets, who — despite the opinions of some — were never destined for a bright NFL future.
49ers general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan made a number of mistakes in the lead-up to the NFL’s 53-man roster cut-down day, which we will break down for you in detail tomorrow. But first, let’s take a look at five of the 49ers’ most controversial — but correct — personnel decisions and roster cuts of 2019: