I'm going to be the first one to say this is a ridiculous premise...but I thought it was an interesting idea, so humor me.
In 2011 when the 49ers signed Braylon Edwards everyone wondered which number he would wear. The number 17 was his number in Cleveland and New York, but was held by Dominique Zeigler. The 49ers haven't been a team that has guys giving up their numbers, selling them to new players, etc.
Edwards chose the number 81, which brought back memories of Terrell Owens...some good, I'd venture most bad. At some point Braylon mentioned that it was temporary. Of course the conclusion some would draw was: Does this mean Ziggy is likely to be cut?
It turns out Zeigler was released after training camp, seemingly never the same after his knee injury in 2010. Edwards snatched-up the number 17 and wore it during the rest of his time in San Francisco.
More after the jump.
Earlier this week when I saw it reported that Mario Manningham had "temporarily" chosen number 14, I couldn't help but wonder if he had his eye on the number 82, which he wore in New York. He wore number 86 in college but the chances of Brian Jennings giving that up or being cut are somewhere between slim and none.
This brings me around to the question: Is there some sort of foreshadowing involved in these temporary number selections? The current wearer of number 82 is Nate Byham, a guy coming off knee injury but otherwise seemed to be in the running for the team's third TE in 2011. Could he be potentially cut and Manningham was told to wait on choosing his number since this was a distinct possibility?
Konrad Reuland is the next likely TE to make the roster in place of Byham, if indeed the latter is cut. Reuland looked great catching passes in last year's training camp but in the end he was relegated to the practice-squad in 2011.
He's also a Stanford grad who played under Harbaugh, though. He'd probably more-closely resemble Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker than Byham would being that he's more athletic in the passing game. He weighed-in at 260lbs. at his pro-day in 2011 so size doesn't seem to be an issue, either.
All-in-all this is just a crazy conspiracy theory...but it bears monitoring when final cuts come down.