The San Francisco 49ers have lost out on one of their potential practice squad options, as tight end MarQueis was claimed off waivers by the Cleveland Browns. He did not initially confirm that in this tweet, but he followed up with confirmation shortly after.
Well it's been fun SF and thanks for all the love & support! Just got the word and now Off to Cleveland to start over!! Here we go #Browns— MarQueis Gray (@MarQueisG) September 1, 2013
Losing a potential practice squad player is not the end of the world, but there was plenty of discussion here about keeping Gray vs. Garrett Celek. Although Celek has more time in the system, and was a solid contributor last season, he seemed to struggle at times in the preseason.
I suspect he was kept in part because of strong performance last year, but I would hope he also had strong performances in practice this year. Gray is in the midst of a transition from quarterback and wide receiver in college to tight end in the NFL. He showed some solid skills, but given the transition and the state of the 49ers roster, it made sense to try and get him to the practice squad.
The Browns are a team in the midst of trying to build something, and have a lot of work left to do. The 49ers have built something and have a chance to take home all the marbles this year. That's not to say the third tight end isn't an important position, but the 49ers appear to be comfortable with Celek in that role. My guess is they figured the third tight end was primarily going to be a blocking role, and Gray had more to work on in that area of his game.