The San Francisco 49ers announced on Tuesday that Alfred Morris has officially signed his contract. Morris signed a one-year deal, and the 49ers released center Alan Knott to make room.
We’ve talked plenty about Morris, and now are waiting to see how much playing time he gets this weekend against the Houston Texans. It will be interesting to see where he starts out on the depth chart when the 49ers and Texans open their joint practices on Wednesday.
But the release of Knott has me wondering about the center depth chart. Weston Richburg is the clear No. 1, and Erik Magnuson handled backup duties last week against the Dallas Cowboys. Coleman Shelton wrapped up the game at center, while Knott was inactive for the game. He was not on the preliminary injury report, which suggests the team simply did not have the opportunity to go a fourth man deep at center, or anywhere else on the line.
The reserve center role is going to be a tough one to figure out until we see Joshua Garnett and Jonathan Cooper back in action. Mike Person has been starting at right guard while Garnett and Cooper have been sidelined. Both are practicing again, and the coaching staff hopes to have them in team drills during the joint practices. Person is the only one of the three who can offer expertise at center, but if the coaching staff thinks he is a capable starter at right guard, this could boost Magnuson’s chances at a roster spot. Magnuson can play all across the line, and got opportunities at tackle, guard, and center last season.
Having both Magnuson and Person offers tremendous versatility, unless the team thinks they are too much of a duplicate as reserves. But again, it comes down to whether or not Person can claim that right guard job. We’ll find out more this week.