3 players the 49ers gave up on way too early

Since hindsight is 20-20, we now know the 49ers shouldn't have given up on these particular players when they did.
New York Jets cornerback D.J. Reed (4)
New York Jets cornerback D.J. Reed (4) / Steph Chambers/GettyImages
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D.J. Reed, New York Jets
New York Jets cornerback D.J. Reed (4) / Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1: Defensive back D.J. Reed

Cornerback D.J. Reed showed plenty of promise during his first two years in the league after San Francisco drafted him in Round 5 back in 2018.

Versatile, capable of playing safety, on the boundary or at nickel, Reed offered positional flexibility and showcased enough long-term potential to suggest he'd be a valuable part of the 49ers secondary for years.

Except he suffered an injury that led to the Niners waving him just before the start of the 2020 season. Had Reed cleared waivers, he could have reverted back to San Francisco's injured-reserve list.

Except the Seattle Seahawks claimed him.

Reed put together two high-quality years with the 49ers' NFC West rivals before signing on with his former defensive coordinator, turned head coach, Robert Saleh and the New York Jets in 2022. And Reed remains a key part of the Jets' defensive backfield, which is regarded as one of the top units within the entirety of the NFL.

The Niners should have figured out a way to hold onto Reed instead of waiving him with an injury designation.

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