Would the 49ers keep six or seven wide receivers? Would San Francisco decide to keep quarterback C.J. Beathard, find a trade partner for him or just release him? Would San Francisco make a claim for another player on Sunday? All of these were pressing questions that the 49ers’ fans had going into the Labor Day Weekend.
The San Francisco 49ers’ brain trust of Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch came through with answers for all of those questions and more. Both Shanahan and Lynch have remained fairly transparent to the media throughout their process, and their actions stayed true to their words.
With an initial 53-man roster finalized on Saturday, the 49ers kept seven receivers, opting to keep wideout Kendrick Bourne over veteran wide receiver Jordan Matthews. San Francisco will hold onto three quarterbacks on their active roster, unable to find a trade suitor for Beathard.
Here’s the final 53-man roster, as well as the players that are on Injured Reserve (IR) and Physically Unable to Perform (PUP).
QB (3): Jimmy Garoppolo, C.J. Beathard, Nick Mullens
RB (3): Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert
FB (1): Kyle Juszczyk
WR (7): Deebo Samuel, Trent Taylor, Jalen Hurd, Marquise Goodwin, Richie James, Kendrick Bourne, Dante Pettis
TE (4): George Kittle, Ross Dwelley, Levine Toilolo, Kaden Smith
OT (4): Joe Staley, Mike McGlinchey, Justin Skule, Daniel Brunskill
OG (3): Laken Tomlinson, Mike Person, Ben Garland
C (1): Weston Richburg
DL (10): DeForest Buckner, Solomon Thomas, Arik Armstead, Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, Kentavius Street, Ronald Blair III, D.J. Jones, Sheldon Day, Julian Taylor
LB (5): Fred Warner, Kwon Alexander, Dre Greenlaw, Azeez Al-Shaair, Mark Nzeocha
CB (6): Richard Sherman, Ahkello Witherspoon, Jason Verrett, K’Waun Williams, D.J. Reed, Emmanuel Moseley
S (3): Jaquiski Tartt, Tarvarius Moore, Jimmie Ward
K (1): Robbie Gould
P (1): Mitch Wishnowsky
LS (1): Colin Holba
Suspended: Kyle Nelson
NFI/PUP: Tim Harris (IR), Jerick McKinnon (IR), Nick Williams (IR), Garrett Celek (PUP)
San Francisco remained dormant on Sunday, not staking a claim for any player in the waiver wire and retaining nine guys that they released to their practice squad.
Here’s the 9-man practice squad.
LB Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles
DL Kevin Givens
S Marcell Harris
TE Daniel Helm
WR Malik Henry
LB Elijah Lee
G Ross Reynolds
DL Jeremiah Valoaga
RB Jeff Wilson Jr.
Despite all of this movement, there are still some depth concerns over certain position groups on the 49ers. Heading into Week 1, here are the three position groups that concern me the most.
San Francisco’s interior offensive line has been a point of contention for 49ers’ fans all summer long. With the two tackle positions stabilized with Mike McGlinchey and Joe Staley, most of the focus has been with the other three positions along the line.
Guards Laken Tomlinson and Mike Person were brought in as stopgaps last season and were not impressive. Despite the struggles, the 49ers let go of former first-round pick Joshua Garnett and only added guard Ben Garland. Staying healthy will be pivotal to the success and continuity of the offensive line.
If the 49ers have any hopes of making the playoffs, it rests on the shoulders of their $137M quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, but the 49ers have overlooked his protection.
The NFL’s best tight end lives in Santa Clara, CA and suits up for the 49ers each week, but beyond that, the group’s outlook is bleak. Tight End George Kittle will lead the tight ends in all the major categories, but most successful teams can balance that with at least another player at the position.
Veteran tight end Garrett Celek has been placed on the PUP list and won’t participate for at least another six weeks. The 49ers added rookie Kaden Smith in the sixth round this past offseason while signing Levine Toilolo to a free-agent deal. San Francisco also has Ross Dwelley – who will likely slot as the No. 2 tight end to start the season.
On Sunday, San Francisco brought back tight end, Daniel Helm to the practice squad, who can also spend time in the backfield as a fullback.
Past Kittle, the three names don’t really scare opposing defensive coordinators, which puts extra pressure on Kittle and offensive play-caller Kyle Shanahan. Until Celek returns, the 49ers should find a way to aid this issue.
The 49ers surprised fans by only keeping three safeties on the 53-man roster on Saturday – Jaquiski Tartt, Tarvarius Moore, and Jimmie Ward. On Sunday, the team moved defensive lineman Kentavius Street to the IR and brought back safety Antone Exum on a one-year contract.
2018 draft pick Marcell Harris returned to the practice squad on Sunday as well. But his inexperience on Sundays remains an issue for the 49ers too.
The biggest question mark with this group is going to be their health. Tartt and Ward have proved to be unpredictable from week-to-week given their injury history. Moore is a second-year player and hasn’t taken a regular-season snap at free safety. Exum provides versatility, as he can play either the free safety or strong safety role.
San Francisco should consider upgrading at this position, as it could be another area of need given the injury history at the position.