Kerley was the only notable free agent retained by John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan, signing a three-year deal. However, fifth round draft pick Trent Taylor impressed as both a pass catcher and returner, and UDFAs Victor Bolden and Kendrick Bourne both impressed as well. The 49ers actually lose $350,000 in cap space with the release, and will carry $2,366,666 in dead money this season.
Kerley entered camp likely to claim the slot receiver role, but we will likely see a rotation of youngsters along with Aldrick Robinson in there. As for the punt and kick return roles, Trent Taylor, Victor Bolden, and Raheem Mostert all could potentially secure work there. Kerley was a solid receiver for the 49ers on a fairly awful 2016 offense, but the team is making moves to get younger. It makes sense.