While they still face significant hurdles at making the 53 man roster, these four 49ers players should be thankful they weren’t included in the opening wave of cuts.
Solely based on numbers alone, any NFL player has an awfully good chance of surviving the first wave of roster cuts, which the league scheduled this year on Tuesday, Aug. 16 after all 32 teams had a chance to play their first preseason game of 2022.
However, no two players are truly equal.
Taking a look at the San Francisco 49ers’ bubble watch ahead of this first wave of cuts, it was possible to see who stood the better chance of hanging around for at least one more week before the second wave of cuts takes place on Tuesday, Aug. 23. Getting a few more practices in, along with making a positive impression in the Niners’ second exhibition game of the year, visiting the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday, Aug. 20, might just help a fringe player’s chances a wee bit more.
- FB Josh Hokit
- WR KeeSean Johnson
- DL Tomasi Laulile
- CB Darqueze Dennard
- DL Robert Nkemdiche
Ninety players down to 85. In two weeks, that number will eventually be at the 53 who are expected to comprise the regular-season roster in Week 1.
While they still face some pretty long odds of hanging around into the regular season, these four San Francisco players have to be extremely thankful not to receive a pink slip in this opening wave of cuts.
Lucky 49ers not-cut player No. 4: CB Ka’Dar Hollman
Veteran cornerback Ka’Dar Hollman had an up-and-down preseason bout against the Green Bay Packers last Friday, breaking up a pass but also being responsible for giving up a touchdown while nearly giving up another if it weren’t for a dropped would-be catch.
Yet the 49ers are a little thin in their defensive backfield after parting ways with Dennard and also watching free safety Jimmie Ward suffer a hamstring injury during last Sunday’s practice.
With fellow corners Emmanuel Moseley and Charvarius Ward nursing minor soft-tissue injuries, Hollman has a chance to redeem himself at least for one more week.
Lucky 49ers not-cut player No. 3: DB Tarvarius Moore
Another veteran in the defensive backfield who might be safer than Hollman, at least in terms of making the 53-man roster, but not quite a guarantee is Tarvarius Moore, who also failed to impress much during Friday’s game against Green Bay.
Granted, Moore saw the field for the first time since 2020 after suffering a torn Achilles the following offseason, which derailed his efforts a year ago.
With Ward potentially out for the start of the regular season, the Niners have no other choice but to ensure Moore rebounds from the first week of preseason action, which might not be the worst thing if he was a bit rusty during last Friday’s game.
Lucky 49ers non-cut player No. 2: WR Tay Martin
With Johnson no longer in San Francisco’s wide receiver room, the door opens just a little bit wider for undrafted rookie wideout Tay Martin.
Martin won’t crack the 53-man roster this season, at least not with Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, Jauan Jennings, Ray-Ray McCloud and Danny Gray poised to seal the five vacant spots without much question. Yet the former Oklahoma State receiver is a prime candidate to earn a spot on the practice squad his rookie year.
Against the Packers, Martin saw a mere three offensive snaps, which could have been an indicator of the 49ers not thinking too highly of him during the preseason.
Fortunately for him, that doesn’t appear to be the case any longer.
Lucky 49ers non-cut player No. 1: Troy Fumagalli
The Niners may keep four tight ends on the 53-man roster, but there’s almost zero chance they’ll keep veteran Troy Fumagalli, who’s looking up at the depth chart at names like George Kittle, Tyler Kroft, Ross Dwelley and Tanner Hudson ahead of him.
With San Francisco waiving Hokit, fullback Kyle Juszczyk’s preseason fill-in and practice squad backup the last two years, Shanahan will still need someone to occupy that lead-blocking role over the final two games of the preseason.
Fumagalli has never been much of a pass-catching threat over his career. Still, his blocking skills aren’t terrible, and he’ll have the benefit of potentially putting together a little more film for 31 other teams to see before the final roster cuts are made.