The San Francisco 49ers have generally been getting healthier, but two players are not expected to hit the practice field soon. As has become fairly regular, the media (Matt Maiocco, this time) inquired about the status of Tank Carradine. Fangio used the opportunity to discuss both Tank and Quinton Dial.
Basically, somebody asked me the other day if I was disappointed in the way it's going with Tank and [DT] Quinton [Dial]. I said no, the only time you get disappointed is when you're expecting something to happen or you're hoping something happens. When we drafted those two guys, this was the picture that was painted. So, we're not surprised that they haven't hit the field yet. It doesn't look like they'll hit it real soon either. That was what was expected when we drafted them, much like [RB Marcus] Lattimore, the running back. Not to his extent, but, that was the picture that was painted.
This is not exactly new information, but it does continue to paint a clearer picture. This gives us a stronger indication that both Tank and Dial will open the season on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list. They are both on the "Active" version of the list. If they remain on the list through the end of training camp, they become eligible for the regular season version of it.
PUP is frequently used interchangeably with NFI, but as socalisteph detailed previously, there are differences. During the course of the season, teams technically do not have to pay players on the NFI list (while they do have to pay players on the PUP list). The team and a player's agent can come to an agreement for some kind of payment, but technically, a team could choose not to pay a player on the NFI list. One reason for that is because the injury occurred outside the realm of the team. Technically speaking, a team should not have to pay a player who was injured on non-team time. In the case of college injuries, I have to imagine teams usually will work out a deal to avoid creating bad blood.
If the 49ers place them on the NFI list, it buys them as much as two months to see how their rehab process continues. Dial has been described as less of a pass rusher, and more of a man in the middle who can occupy space. Given that role and the 49ers current depth, I could see him spending the entire season on the NFI list, basically as another red shirt option.
On the other hand, if Tank is good to go in a couple months, his pass rushing skills could be of great value given the amount of time the 49ers could find themselves in passing situations. Corey Lemonier is already looking like an intriguing option, but having a guy who could spell Justin Smith and Ray McDonald could make Tank a guy they are more likely to bring off the list this season. And an October or early November return would be just in time to start spelling some of the starters.
For now any return is speculation, but feel free to take that however you want.