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Golden Nuggets: Could Kyle Rudolph be the 49ers TE2?

Your daily San Francisco 49ers links for Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Divisional Round - Minnesota Vikings v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Roster cuts are starting to pour in as we saw on Tuesday from the Dolphins, Jets, and the Vikings. Tight end Kyle Rudolph is an interesting name, though he may command more than what the 49ers are willing to offer.

San Francisco 49ers free-agency overview: Focus turns to secondary, offensive line - San Francisco 49ers Blog- ESPN

Game plan: Ford’s back injury complicates this because most of his salary for next season is guaranteed for injury. If he’s healthy enough to pass a physical, he is a likely cap casualty. If not, the team will have to hope he can get healthy and contribute next season. Jones, Hyder, Blair and Thomas could all return if the price is right, though the first three should have outside interest. Willis is a young player worth keeping around for a longer look and shouldn’t cost too much. If Trent Williams leaves, the 49ers could chase someone like Shaq Barrett or Yannick Ngakoue, though that would seem to be dependent on Ford’s status.

Kyle Rudolph released by Vikings, could help solve 49ers TE depth problem

At 31-years old, Rudolph’s days as a primary weapon are likely behind him. However, until last year when he caught only one, he was still an efficient touchdown scorer. The five years prior to that he averaged six touchdown catchers per season.

The former second-round pick is still a weapon in the red zone who’s crafty enough to get open, and physical enough to beat defenders on contested throws. Being able to plug him in as a pass catcher would be a significant upgrade for San Francisco over the likes of Ross Dwelley and Charlie Woerner who’re both primarily blocking TEs.

49ers president Al Guido optimistic fans will be at Levi’s Stadium this year

“We are optimistic,” Guido said. “It started in two phases and we’re into the second phase now. The first phase was opening up the mass vaccination center (at Levi’s Stadium), which is awesome. We’ve done over 20,000 vaccinations to date. We started doing around 5,000 a day this week, so that’s going really, really well here with the help of all of our partners.

“And then the second part was – today we announced the medical advisory committee – which is, frankly, really led by not just Bay Area, but world-renowned infectious disease experts to get us to a point … we gotta get fans back in the stands. We gotta get back on the field. We gotta do all those things, but we have to do it safely. I’m confident that with the leadership group that we’re announcing today that we’ll put the right measures in place to make sure that we can have fans when we kick back off in August and September. So I feel really good about it.”

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Pinpoints Two Positions of Need for 49ers at No. 12

“I think when you look at him, the mobility, he’s going to run athletically and from a speed standpoint, he’s going to test incredibly well,” Kiper Jr. said. “He’s going to probably run maybe a 4.4 (40 time). His arm strength, his competitiveness, his passion for the game, he loves to study the game, study film, study the opposition, and he’ll be the first one in and the last one out of the building.”

“I would think cornerback at that spot than any other position. So, if it’s not quarterback, I think it would be a corner.”

San Francisco 49ers’ salary cap situation heading into 2021

Could Raheem Mostert have played his last snap in San Francisco?

Raheem Mostert is entering the final year of his deal with the 49ers. However, after missing eight games in 2020, the 49ers may decide to save salary cap space by moving on from Mostert in 2021. Mostert is due to count $3.6 million against the 49ers’ salary cap in 2021. However, if the 49ers were to release Mostert, they would save $3.15 million and leave just over $450,000 in dead money.

Who else could the 49ers look to release?

In terms of opening up more than $1 million in cap space, the 49ers’ options are somewhat limited. Linebacker Mark Nzeocha is due to earn $1.5 million if the 49ers pick up his option. If they do not, he would leave nothing in dead money on the 49ers’ 2021 salary cap.