The 49ers elected to get their offseason roster below the total number of 80 before a mid-camp deadline, making 14 total moves.
The San Francisco 49ers could have followed the Aug. 16 deadline implemented by the league to trim offseason rosters down from the usual crop of 90 players to 80.
Instead, the Niners didn’t wait around, electing to make a total of 14 roster moves on Tuesday afternoon.
The team announced the following transactions on its website:
- Active/Physically Unable to Perform List
- Active/Non-Football Injury List
- LB Joey Alfieri
- CB Jermaine Kelly
- S Derrick Kindred
- OL Ray Smith
- QB Broc Rutter
- Waived/Non-Football Injury
- WR Chris Finke
- Waived/Non-Football Illness
- DL Willie Henry Jr.
The bulk of those players waived were long shots to make the 53-man roster anyway, although one can look at Finke and Rutter as potential “what could have been?” players. Finke, namely for his elusiveness and special teams abilities, while a quarterback like Rutter could have been a potential replacement for returning veterans, C.J. Beathard or Nick Mullens, should either leave as a free agent in 2021.
49ers D-line, wide receivers hurting entering training camp
James and Samuel’s respective injuries cast a shadow on what the Niners will want to do at wide receiver when camp kicks off later this week. James is expected back after suffering a broken wrist earlier this offseason, but the exact timetable is unknown.
Samuel’s foot fracture could take up to 16 weeks to fully heal, which could ultimately translate into him missing the first quarter of the regular season.
Needless to say, San Francisco is hurting for proven commodities here, especially early.
The 49ers’ defensive line depth took a toll a year ago and was made weaker by the free-agent loss of defensive tackle Sheldon Day to the Indianapolis Colts. Blair, Street and Taylor all suffered season-ending injuries last season, putting some of the other potential fill-in options in a better position to crack the 53-man roster by Week 1.
Out of that initial trio, however, Blair stands the best chance to be a regular contributor.
San Francisco has four open spots on its roster after the 14 moves. Yet the front office might not make any further transactions, opening up the door for some of those injured players to return when fully recovered.