The 49ers signed WR River Cracraft to a one-year deal and waived/injured WR Richie James to make room for him on Saturday. If James isn’t claimed by another team, he’ll revert back to the 49ers injured reserve. James is expected to miss six weeks.
For those of you in the Bay Area, you’re aware of all how unbearable the combination of the heat and the smoke can be. As of late Saturday afternoon, the air quality near Levi’s Stadium was 140 AQI. For the NFL to cancel the game, the air quality must be over 200 AQI.
S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
One of the biggest factors that could influence the team keeping Clinton-Dix might be the health of teammate Jaquiski Tartt. The veteran Pro Bowl safety was signed while Tartt was working his way back from substantial toe injury that was originally going to leave him sidelined past the beginning of the season.
While the Pro Bowl safety has done a commendable job since signing with the team, it might not be enough to hold on to a spot if Tartt can make a full return. Position mate Talanoa Hufanga is also vying for a spot. The rookie has been showing progress while also being a special teams contributor.
Returners and Hurd, Jennings
There aren’t a ton of position battles raging at this point, but it’s still unclear who the 49ers favor as their returner, especially for punts. Richie James Jr. is now out of the picture with a knee which needs to be surgically repaired, leaving Travis Benjamin and Nsimba Webster as the two most likely candidates. River Cracraft was also re-signed in James’ stead.
Benjamin has had the best camp of that small group as a receiver, coming on strong down the stretch after a very underwhelming start plagued by drops. That was highlighted by his touchdown reception on a bullet over the middle from Trey Lance against the Chargers. Benjamin is also a vested veteran, meaning that while he may be more expensive long term on the cap (that’s not a massive concern for the 49ers, but it will get tight at some point until they extend Laken Tomlinson or restructure Arik Armstead’s deal), he’s also easier to cut and re-sign without waiver concerns.
There are reams of unanswered questions here, and unfortunately, the 49ers, Raiders, NFL and SFPD didn’t answer any of them when we reached out. (The Niners referred us to the NFL. The Raiders, NFL and SFPD said nothing.)
Here’s what we wanted to know: Is the preseason game back because the Raiders moved to Las Vegas, or because the Niners moved to a new location, away from what the Wall Street Journal called the “high-crime district” of Candlestick in 2012? Because Las Vegas is very much Las Vegas, and fights very much still broke out when the Raiders visited Levi’s Stadium in 2018.
“I mean, having Dee and Arden and Bosa and Samson, having all those guys available we can do a lot of things,” Ryans said Thursday, via team transcript. “All those guys are very talented and you have unlimited options with what you can do with all those guys. All of them are really great talents. All of them are awesome at rushing the passer. And we just want to utilize guys to their best ability. We want to be able to utilize them, utilize their strengths, to help us win games.”
“Yes, I think Hufanga with the way he’s played these last two weeks and the way he’s been in practice, I think he’s definitely given himself an opportunity,” Shanahan told reporters. ”Obviously [S Jaquiski] Tartt has been out, PUP, and [S] Tavon [Wilson] has had a real good camp too here, so we’ll see how that finishes out.”
Yeah, he does. Both in special teams and on defense. Opportunities in this league are earned. That’s exactly what he’s done. This guy is vying for a starting job.”