The 49ers will miss two of their backup players in 2020, Shon Coleman and Travis Benjamin, who opted out. How does it affect the depth chart?
Last week, San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch told reporters he didn’t anticipate anyone on the 2020 offseason roster would be opting out in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Turns out, Lynch was slightly mistaken.
The Niners ended up having three players electing to opt out of the upcoming season just ahead of Thursday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline: wide receiver Travis Benjamin and offensive tackles Jake Brendel and Shon Coleman, who both were on one-year deals with San Francisco.
As Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith pointed out, “Coleman is a cancer survivor, so he may be a high-risk opt out, which would entitle him to a $350,000 stipend this season. Players who choose to opt out without having a high risk get a $150,000 advance on their 2021 salaries.”
Simply put, Coleman is doing what’s right for himself and his family. A year ago, the veteran tackle spent all year on injured reserve after suffering a serious ankle injury in the 49ers’ preseason opener versus the Dallas Cowboys. He didn’t play the previous year after being acquired from the Cleveland Browns, thanks to the Niners’ excellent health along their offensive line in 2018.
Benjamin, meanwhile, was one of the few free-agent acquisitions San Francisco picked up during the offseason. He spent the last four years with the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers, yet he was limited to just five games due to injury in 2019 and caught only six receptions for 30 yards. The Niners were hoping to reinvigorate the speedy 30-year-old receiver’s career amid some question marks of their own at the position. But that’ll no longer be the case, at least not in 2020.
So, how do both players’ choices to opt out shake things up for the 49ers depth chart?
Let’s take a look.