Here at Niners Nation, we're presenting a series called "90-in-90". We'll be looking at every player on the San Francisco 49ers offseason roster, one player per post, from now until the start of training camp.
Yesterday afternoon, the San Francisco 49ers made a roster move as they signed punter/kicker Colton Schmidt, and released long snapper/tight end Kyle Nelson. Although listed partially as a tight end, Nelson was signed almost exclusively for his work as a long snapper. However, his release now means the long snapper competition comes down to the longest tenured member of the 49ers, Brian Jennings, and one of the newest 49ers, undrafted free agent Kevin McDermott.
Editor's Note: The Seattle Seahawks claimed Kyle Nelson off waivers. This might be the most "49ers-Seahawks thing" ever
This is not the first year the 49ers have brought in an extra long snapper, but this might be the first year there could be legitimate competition for the long snapper position. The 49ers signed McDermott as an undrafted free agent out of UCLA. McDermott was the starting long snapper for the last two seasons, earning a spot in the Casino del Sol Collegiate All Star Game.
Coach Harbaugh spoke about McDermott after the 49ers rookie minicamp:
Through the evaluation process, what he did in college, his work leading up to the draft. We really felt that he was the best long snapping candidate in college football. And we're really pleased to have him on the squad. And he'll be in a battle of competition with the great [LS] Brian Jennings at that position. But, I think he's an excellent candidate and has the license and the opportunity to make a spot on this football team.
Here is some video of McDermott at the college senior specialists combine.
What to expect in 2013
McDermott faces a tough battle against arguably the best long snapper in the game in Brian Jennings, who is entering his 14th season with the 49ers. McDermott's best chance to earn a roster spot is beating out Jennings, which would certainly be something else. However, it is possible that if the 49ers like what they see, they might try and slip him through waivers to the practice squad. Jennings does not appear close to the end of his time in the NFL, but if the 49ers decide he's not worth the financial investment at some point, maybe they keep McDermott around on the practice squad and eventually he takes Jennings' job.
Odds of making the roster
His odds aren't great, but he has the benefit of saving the 49ers some cash. This year, McDermott is scheduled to earn $405,000 (league minimum), while Jennings has a cap figure of $1,161,000. In 2014, McDermott is due $495,000, while Jennings has a cap figure of $1,035,000. Given that, is it worth the savings over just over half a million? The 49ers currently have just over $5.4 million in cap space. I don't imagine that extra half million will make a difference, and Jennings is only signed for one more year.
What would you do at long snapper?