The San Francisco 49ers announced some roster moves on their off day in Week 13. The team returns to practice on Wednesday for preparations to face the Seattle Seahawks, and a couple new faces join the 53-man roster. The team claimed defensive back Godwin Igwebuike off waivers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and promoted James Onwualu to the active roster from the practice squad. The team has also signed LB Tyrell Adams and WR Max McCaffrey to the practice squad.
The 49ers had a free roster spot from release Reuben Foster, and they added a second roster spot by placing Jimmie Ward on injured reserve. Ward suffered a broken arm on Sunday and will be out for the rest of the year. His replacement, D.J. Reed, suffered a foot strain and chest contusion and was replaced by Antone Exum. It seems like Exum will start this week at free safety, and Igwebuike will be a backup.
The promotion of Onwualu adds some depth with Foster off the team, but is also needed because Malcolm Smith is dealing with tendonitis in his lower leg. He was replaced by Elijah Lee after 26 snaps. There is no word on what Smith’s status will be this week.
Here’s a rundown of all the new players, courtesy of 49ers PR.
Igwebuike (6-0, 212) originally signed with the Buccaneers as an undrafted rookie free agent on April 30, 2018. He was waived by Tampa Bay on September 1 and signed to the team’s practice squad the following day. On November 16, he was promoted to the active roster and appeared in one game prior to being waived on November 26.
A 24-year-old native of Pickerington, OH, Igwebuike attended Northwestern University. In five years with the Wildcats (2013-17), he appeared in 50 games (43 starts) and registered 324 tackles, 31 passes defensed and seven interceptions and earned Second-Team All-Big Ten honors in consecutive seasons (2016-17).
Onwualu (6-1, 235) originally entered the NFL after signing with the Los Angeles Chargers as an undrafted rookie free agent on May 1, 2017. He appeared in nine games and registered nine special teams tackles last season with the Chargers and was waived by the team on August 26, 2018. He was signed to the 49ers practice squad on November 19.
A 24-year-old native of St. Paul, MN, Onwualu attended the University of Notre Dame. In four years with the Irish (2013-16), he appeared in 48 games and tallied 143 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss and six sacks. As a senior in 2016, he registered 75 tackles, a team-high 11.5 tackles for loss and three sacks.
Adams (6-2, 230) originally entered the NFL after signing with the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted rookie free agent on May 12, 2015. He was waived by the Seahawks on September 5, 2015, and later spent parts of his rookie season on the Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs practice squads. After signing a Reserve/Future contract with the Chiefs on January 18, 2016, he was later released from the team’s practice squad on September 6, 2016. Adams was signed to the Oakland Raiders practice squad on October 5, 2016, and was promoted to the Raiders active roster on November 26, 2016 where he appeared in six regular season games and one postseason contest. In 2017, he saw action in six games for Oakland and registered 15 tackles prior to being waived by the team on October 16, 2017. He was then claimed off waivers by the Buffalo Bills on October 18, 2017.
This season, Adams signed with the Indianapolis Colts on February 23, 2018. He was Waived/Injured by the team on September 1 and later signed to the Houston Texans practice squad on October 2. On October 6, he was promoted to the Texans active roster where he went on to appear in three games before he was Waived/Injured on October 22.
A 26-year-old native of Atlanta, GA, Adams attended the University of West Georgia. In four years with the Wolves (2011-14), he appeared in 44 games and tallied 220 tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
McCaffrey (6-2, 200) originally entered the NFL after signing with the Oakland Raiders as an undrafted free agent on May 10, 2016. He was waived by Oakland on August 29, 2016 and signed to the Green Bay Packers practice squad on December 20, 2016. On January 21, 2017, McCaffrey was promoted to the Packers active roster and was inactive for the NFC Championship against the Atlanta Falcons.
In 2017, he was waived by Green Bay on September 2, 2017, and later signed to the New Orleans Saints practice squad on September 4, 2017. On September 12, 2017, he was signed to the Jacksonville Jaguars active roster where he appeared in five games and registered one reception for four yards prior to being waived by the team on October 21, 2017. He was signed to the Green Bay Packers practice squad on October 24, 2017 and was signed to the 49ers active roster on December 13, 2017 where he was inactive for the team’s final three games of the season. After spending this past training camp with the 49ers, he was Waived/Injured by the team on August 29, 2018.
A 24-year-old native of Highlands Ranch, CO, McCaffrey attended Duke University, where he appeared in 53 games (38 starts) and registered 117 receptions for 1,341 yards (11.5 average) and 12 touchdowns. His father, Ed, spent 13 seasons in the NFL with the New York Giants (1991-93), San Francisco 49ers (1994) and the Denver Broncos (1995-2003) and his brother, Christian, plays for the Carolina Panthers.