49ers roster cuts: 4 players San Francisco will regret letting go

Defensive back Dontae Johnson #48 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Defensive back Dontae Johnson #48 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /
3 of 4
Jake Brendel, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers center Jake Brendel (64) Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers Cut No. 2: Center Jake Brendel

Again, the practice squad probability applies here, and there isn’t likely a huge swarm of other teams out there tripping over themselves to land reserve center Jake Brendel.

If Brendel falls through waivers and makes it onto San Francisco’s practice squad, fine. But there’s a reason why the 49ers may have been a bit wiser naming Brendel to the regular-season group.

The Niners currently don’t have a natural center to back up the starter, Alex Mack, to open up the year. And while Mack has been the epitome of consistency and longevity over his Pro Bowl career, 2020 proved easily just how quickly an offensive line can suffer from attrition.

Brendel might not have been flashy or overly impressive during training camp and the preseason. But there weren’t any backup options who outperformed him as a reserve to Mack either.

For now, at least for in-game situations, presumed starting right guard Daniel Brunskill likely winds up being Mack’s emergency replacement. Yet that stands in contrast to Kyle Shanahan’s prior tendency of not moving his offensive linemen around in the wake of one injury.

From Shanahan’s standpoint, it’s unwise to downgrade multiple positions simply because one player suffered an injury.

If San Francisco is forced to move Brunskill over to center to account for an in-game Mack injury, it’ll ultimately open up a void at right guard that’ll be tough to adequately fill.