5 key takeaways from 49ers cuts and initial 2021 roster

Trent Sherfield #81 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Trent Sherfield #81 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /
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Jimmy Garoppolo, Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

While it’ll certainly change in the coming days and weeks, the 49ers’ opening 2021 53 man roster is set, revealing some notable takeaways.

In all reality, any NFL team’s 53-man roster is a fluid and ever-changing thing. So one can only read so much into the San Francisco 49ersinitial regular-season roster in the wake of the league’s final wave of roster cuts.

While it was certainly disappointing for those players involved, the Niners parting ways with a number of starting-caliber or high-quality-backup players as part of cuts reveals how much more depth the 2021 edition has over last year’s squad and certainly the ones in the first few years of head coach Kyle Shanahan’s tenure.

There will be changes made in the coming days ahead of Week 1, and there’ll certainly be even more during the regular season.

Yet there are some key takeaways and notable pointers that can be disseminated about this 2021 edition.

Let’s look at five of those right here.

Takeaway No. 5: 49ers are comfortable with two-quarterback depth chart… somewhat

Shanahan had very good reasons to keep three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster the last two years.

In 2019, Jimmy Garoppolo was coming off a torn ACL suffered the previous year, mandating both Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard stick around without one being subjected to a potential plucking away off the practice squad. Last year, the global pandemic essentially necessitated it, and injuries to players like Garoppolo made it necessary anyway.

Now, however, Garoppolo and rookie Trey Lance are the only QBs on the 53-man roster. Should Garoppolo, who is slated to start, suffer any kind of injury whatsoever, Lance’s rapid development in year one has shown to be enough for Shanahan to name the No. 3 overall NFL Draft pick the immediate backup with no other gameday options.

Aside from the recently demoted Nate Sudfeld, of course, who’ll be the emergency call-up from the practice squad.

The thinking here? Both Garoppolo and Lance can’t suffer some kind of serious injury simultaneously, right? And if San Francisco is forced to turn to a third-string quarterback at any point, it’s going to be a bad year anyway.

Might as well save that roster spot for someone else.