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49ers sign Ja’Quan Gardner, waive Chanceller James

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I felt heading into training camp that San Francisco 49ers safety Chanceller James had a decent shot at a roster spot. He seemed on track to earn a role last year before he tore his ACL, but things changed. The team has decided to move on, waiving James to make room for their formal signing of Humboldt State University running back Ja’Quan Gardner. Matt Maiocco reported the Gardner news Monday evening, and the team made it official on Tuesday.

Gardner joins a running back room that is short-handed heading into the preseason finale. Jerick McKinnon and Matt Breida will not play, and Joe Williams appears unlikely to play either. That leaves, Raheem Mostert, Alfred Morris, Jeremy McNichols, and Jeff Wilson. My guess is Mostert and Morris do not play on Thursday. McNichols and Wilson could be enough to play the game, but the 49ers probably want an extra body around just in case.

James’ departure narrows the safety competition a bit. Adrian Colbert and Jaquiski Tartt are the starters, and then it’s fairly wide open. D.J. Reed is getting time at both nickel and free safety, and seems all but assured of making the roster. Antone Exum and Dexter McCoil are healthy options, and last week we saw Tyvis Powell get time at safety. I suspect Exum, McCoil, and Powell are competing for one roster spot.