The San Francisco 49ers are second in the league in waiver wire priority, and have until 9 a.m. PT to make decisions on whether or not they will submit a claim for one of the players released as part of roster cuts around the league on Saturday.
Players who don’t have at least four accrued NFL seasons are subject to the waiver wire, and the 49ers are behind only the Cleveland Browns on the priority list. They can claim any player who qualifies, and so long as the Browns didn’t also claim that player, the 49ers will owe that player a roster spot.
Given the rebuilding effort underway in San Francisco, there’s a fairly good chance the 49ers will claim somebody on waivers, and this would mean they have to release someone from the current 53-man roster to do so. The 49ers do have one spot they will gain by placing defensive lineman Ronald Blair on injured reserve, however.
Still, those players who made it on the roster bubble can still be considered on that bubble. The 49ers will be looking at hundreds of players on Sunday, and these are the guys I think are most on the roster bubble going into the waiver wire deadline.
WR Kendrick Bourne
A big-bodied receiver who likely won’t be active on game days, Bourne made it over someone like Jeremy Kerley because he wasn’t due a large contract. He looked good in the preseason, but I’m not convinced the 49ers are in love with him.
OT Gary Gilliam
The 49ers were not expected to keep four offensive tackles, but it’s possible they kept an extra due to Joe Staley’s lingering knee injury that forced him out of the third preseason game. If it comes out that Staley is 100% good to go, then Gilliam could be released. John Theus was the first one on the field when Staley left the game, so his spot seems safer.
DL Pita Taumoepenu
Aaron Lynch is on the roster, and I don’t see the 49ers releasing him at this point. I fail to see how Taumoepenu can find a way onto the active roster, and I expect the 49ers can stash him on the practice squad. They may have one too many defensive linemen, and could easily bolster the special teams and depth with a player at another position.
DB Adrian Colbert
Special teams is going to be interesting this season. Two of the standouts were Vinnie Sunseri and Colbert, with the former looking better overall. But Sunseri didn’t make it, and Colbert will likely only be active until Jimmie Ward is fully healthy.
CB Keith Reaser
There were some who thought the 49ers might roll with Asa Jackson over Reaser, but they didn’t go that way. Reaser, though, was still the last cornerback on the roster and the 49ers certainly aren’t stacked at the position. He could be vulnerable if the 49ers find another young corner they like on waivers.