We’re officially seven days away from August 31st, the date by which the 49ers - and the rest of the NFL - will be required to reduce their active rosters to 53 players. By all accounts the competition has been solid in Niners training camp this year as fringe veterans and newcomers compete for the final few spots on the roster.
But as the fans and media begin to pencil in their predictions for the 49ers final 53 man roster, there are a few names included in most that in my opinion shouldn’t be. Players who have been around far too long while contributing far too little. Five to be exact.
Jimmie Ward, Joshua Garnett, Malcolm Smith, Adrian Colbert, and Arik Armstead.
And while it’s tough to suggest that any player lose their job, these players have been given every opportunity to succeed, and it just didn’t work out.
Potential should be a word reserved for a first, second, or maybe third year player. Not for a player entering his sixth year having played in only 51 games and recording a grand total of 2 career interceptions. The roster is thin at safety, but an injury prone player already on the downside of his career shouldn’t be hard to replace. It’s time to move on.
Not much to say here. Joshua Garnett has been collecting paychecks for four years now having contributed absolutely nothing. It’s time to move on.
Smith had one good season with the Seahawks in 2013 which included a Super Bowl MVP award. But he followed that up with dreadful PFF grades of 37.3 (2014), 44.3 (2015), and 46.3 (2016). The 49ers rewarded Smith’s subpar performances with a substantial contract in 2017, and he rewarded them by missing the entire year due to injury. In 2018 he played in 11 games managing just 35 total tackles. It’s time to move on
Colbert flashed briefly in 2017 when he was pushed into action as a rookie due to a rash of injuries in the secondary, but those flashes are long gone. Instead of progressing he has regressed. Colbert is a seventh round pick going into his third year and continues to struggle in coverage. It’s time to move on.
This is a tough one. I think most 49ers fans would agree that Armstead has come a long way, and is a solid depth piece on the defensive line. But the defensive line is deep. There is more talent than there is opportunity and the Niners need to make room for the younger - and in most cases cheaper - talent. Even with just one year left on his contract Armstead surely has trade value, even if it’s a late round pick, and given their depth at the position the Niners should see what they can get. It’s time to move on.
Shanahan and Lynch have shown a willingness to be patient with players, allowing them time to learn and develop their skills over time. But in the NFL, patience can be a weakness. Bill Walsh was rarely patient with underperforming players, and Bill Belichick has never had patience for players who don’t perform up to his standards.
It’s time to see if Kyle Shanahan can take a page from their book, and make the difficult decisions required to put together the most talented - and reliable - roster possible come August 31st.
And now onto the links:
49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo has message for prep QB returning from ACL tear (Alex Didion, NBC Sports)
49ers Solomon Thomas on path to resurgence in 2019 (Peter Panacy, NInerNoise)
49ers vs. Chiefs: 6 49ers to watch on offense (Kyle Madson, NinersWire)
Sources: Foerster resurfaces in role with 49ers (Jenne Laine, ESPN)
Chances of 49ers rookie Nick Bosa playing Week 1 are 50-50, says John Lynch (David Bonilla, 49ersWebZone)
Teams have called about 49ers D-line, Jaquiski Tartt ‘has it all,’ tough decisions coming, says John Lynch (David Bonilla, 49ersWebZone)
49ers’ undrafted rookie Azeez Al-Shaair has plenty of motivation (Eric Branch, SF Chronicle)
Jimmie Ward Still Has Time to Win 49ers’ Free Safety Role (Doug Williams, NBC Bay Area)
NFL News and Notes...
What we learned from Friday’s preseason games (Around the NFL staff, NFL.com)
Elliott’s new trainer calls Dak Prescott a ‘bum’ (Cody Benjamin, CBS Sports)
Panthers ‘optimistic’ Newton will start opener (Jordan Dajani, CBS Sports)
Lions lose starters Davis, Ragnow to injuries (Michael Rothstein, ESPN)
Buccaneers backup Gabbert dislocates shoulder (Jenna Laine, ESPN)