The San Francisco 49ers might have a “big” decision to make as Saturday’s roster cuts approach. Defensive tackles Sheldon Day and D.J. Jones have both impressed during practices and preseason games, and it is now fair to ask if this could result in the release or trade of Earl Mitchell.
Day can play some nose, but Jones is the one who is most likely to supplant Mitchell on the roster. Two weeks ago, Jones was a member of Pro Football Focus’ team of the week for preseason Week 2. Through the first two games, he had the second highest defensive grade on the 49ers roster. This past weekend against the Indianapolis Colts, he built on that. Jones had two run stops and a quarterback hurry in 19 snaps, and finished among the highest graded players.
Has Jones done enough to convince the 49ers to unload Mitchell? On the one hand, it would potentially offer up a chance for an extra roster spot elsewhere. On the other hand, they could be comfortable with his work on rushing downs and just aren’t quite ready to fully hand the reins over to Jones.
If the team was going to release Mitchell, I feel like it would happen before Thursday’s preseason finale so that he would have time to find a team before final roster cuts. A trade is possible as well, so that will be something to watch between now and Saturday.