All teams in the NFL had to submit their 53-man roster which means players, a lot of players, got cut from the 90-man roster they went into preseason with. That means there’s a pool of talent the San Francisco 49ers can look into for some last minute tinkering before they head into Week 1.
Keep in mind: Veterans with four or more years in the NFL immediately become free agents and can sign with any team. Those who don’t check that box are placed on waivers and must clear waivers before being considered for the 49ers practice squad. The 49ers are No. 9 in waiver priority which means they have a good shot at anyone in this now congested wire.
The biggest need right now is to find someone, anyone, to rush the passer. The 49ers thinned numbers even more by having Jeremiah Attaochu as part of their cuts to the 53-man and they will no doubt be looking for someone to go hunt the quarterback. They tried to trade for Khalil Mack, but the price was far too rich.
The 49ers definitely got younger at a lot of positions as they are trying to get development into those prospects for future returns, but there’s some great talent out there to make them better. Don’t go thinking that there’s anything must-have to get on the team. These players were cut for a reason. That said, let’s look at each position and what’s available.
If Jerick McKinnon’s injury is anything significant, and it most likely is, the 49ers will need some help at running back. Matt Breida and Alfred Morris will be holding down the fort, but Joe Williams and Jeremy McNichols are not the answer. Luckily, there’s some players out there. The New England Patriots released Mike Gillislee, who had some decent games with both them and the Buffalo Bills. Gillislee’s time in New England was not near as productive as Buffalo however, and he’s looking for a job.
The 49ers cut Jonathan Cooper after his injury just kept resurfacing during training camp and have Mike Person/Joshua Garnett duking it out for the right guard spot.
Sadly, the pickings are pretty slim for the guard. Or at least a guard that could provide better depth than the 49ers can provide. The Tennessee Titans released Jeremiah Poutasi and he may be the best option. He has starting experience and bounced around the league, but really couldn’t catch on anywhere. David Quessenberry who was recently with the Houston Texans is another possible option, but he’s only played in two games, being sidelined after a Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis.
Neither of these are very inspiring.
Another position that seems locked up with Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey. The first name that comes to mind is Cornelius Lucas. Lucas was cut by the Los Angeles Rams, has only one start for 2017, the final game of the season—the same game where the Rams benched their starters and got a beating by the 49ers. Lucas would be a good person to bring in just to get as much information on the Rams as the 49ers possibly could. Beyond intel, there’s not much he can offer. T.J. Clemmings could bring some veteran presence with his brief stint in Washington and his starting experience with the Minnesota Vikings.
After a grueling day of hard decisions, the 49ers have decided on their wide receiver group. The position has gotten younger with the release of Aldrick Robinson. Pierre Garcon will helm things with Marquise Goodwin, Trent Taylor, Dante Pettis, Richie James and Kendrick Bourne onboard to cause chaos.
Dez Bryant still remains an option in free agency if the 49ers were desperate. The Buffalo Bills also released Corey Coleman.
Other names available would be Former Houston Texan Braxton Miller (a former quarterback turned wide receiver that many thought could be the future of the Texans), Breshad Perriman (Baltimore Ravens), and Michael Floyd (New Orleans Saints).
I don’t know exactly what is going on with the pass rushing situations heading into Week 1, and I tend to wonder if the 49ers know either. With Attaochu gone, they will need to find someone to get to the quarterback. The Cincinnati Bengals cut Michael Johnson who not only brings some veteran presence, but also some nice years from both the Bengals and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’s not an end-all solution, but may be worth kicking the tires on. Brian Robinson is another big name, being released by the Minnesota Vikings, though he’s far on the wrong side of 30 and past the twilight of his career. He has great numbers under his belt, though. Kony Ealy is another one worth kicking the tires on. He hasn’t had a good season since his six-game stint in 2016, but now that the Dallas Cowboys have cut him, maybe he’s worth a look?
The 49ers cornerback position is loaded with depth and has some quality starters. The safety position has starters, but the depth is severely lacking. By all accounts, it’s safe to assume Eric Reid will not be returning to the team.
If Jaquiski Tartt/Adrian Colbert goes down, it leaves a huge hole. Jimmie Ward is meant to be a backup slot corner and not a safety. With that in mind, the offerings for the position in the league are lacking as well. T.J. Green is the first safety that comes to mind for depth. He was taken in the second round of the 2016 draft by the Indianapolis Colts and recently released. While not starter quality, he could provide some nice depth at the position. Treston Decoud was cut by the Texans and is more of a question mark, but he could be worth a look as well. The Seattle Seahawks have also released Maurice Alexander who could be a nice intel signing and also adding some depth to a defense he’s familiar with.
Obviously we’re throwing some names out there of possible candidates to get a workout in and help the team. This is in no way the best group of people we can come up with. Anyone cut that you’d like to come to the 49ers?