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Richie James will be coming off the NFI list today; Lynch weighs in on the 49ers wideouts

Would James kick Austin or Jennings off the roster? Lynch also discussed Garland’s injury as well as a couple of notable free agents.

San Francisco 49ers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch was on KNBR Thursday morning discussing a few personnel moves on the team. Let’s start with cornerback. Lynch wouldn’t come out and say that Emmanuel Moseley won the starting cornerback position. Lynch said Moseley, “impressed us. He showed even more than last year.” Lynch noted that Jason Verrett tweaked his hamstring at practice on Wednesday. The team is awaiting the results to see how bad the injury is. Matt Barrows said it’s a Grade 1 strain, which is the lowest level. A Grade 1 strain could take anywhere from a few days up to three weeks to heal. Verrett could take his time recovering and still only miss a game or two.

There have been plenty of fans that have asked about Jadeveon Clowney. Lynch said, “we’re out of cash. We’ve got a salary cap, and we’re up against it.” The 49ers could clear up cap space by cutting players that we’ve mentioned like Tevin Coleman, Tom Compton, and Mark Nzeocha—that’s $8.5 million right there—but that doesn’t appear to be something the team is going to do, at least in Coleman’s case. Lynch also said the combination of Solomon Thomas, Kentavius Street, Kevin Givens, D.J. Jones, and Javon Kinlaw would all combine to replace DeForest Buckner.

Lynch wouldn’t rule out signing Mohamed Sanu, who we discussed earlier Thursday morning. Lynch said, “actually pretty pleased with our depth at wide receiver. He’s an excellent football player. When a good football player becomes available, we’re always interested. But we’re probably more comfortable at the wide receiver position than most people think. We’ll see.”

With the news that Richie James will be coming off the NFI list today, confirmed by Matt Maiocco and Matt Barrows, that may be enough to prevent the team from adding Sanu. The question was whether or not he’d be in football shape to play, and based on the decision to activate James, that answers the question. Kyle Shanahan had initially expected James to start the season on the NFI, so James must have healed faster than the team hoped.

So who loses a roster spot with James active, Tavon Austin, or Jauan Jennings? I’d say Jennings moves to the practice squad, and Tavon is safe based on practice rotations and who made the bigger impact in August.

Lynch, on Dante Pettis: “For whatever reason, it didn’t click last year, but he’s answered the bell in our mind (in training camp), and now he’s got to prove it on the field.” Indeed he does, John.

As for Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, Lynch said, “it will really come right down to the game week for [them].”

Lynch said the center position would be fluid and likely come right down to the wire to see who plays as well: T’hat’s another one that’s going to be fluid going into Week 1. Ben [Garland] had a decent ankle sprain. We’re just not sure it’s going to be 100 percent.” I don’t think the 49ers know who will start at center Week 1.