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Elijah Mitchell is headed to injured reserve for eight weeks with an MCL injury. I’m sure fans are wondering if releasing Trey Sermon was a wise move. Hindsight is 20/20. While I understand the comfort of a player familiar with the system, I’m here to argue it wasn’t a mistake.
Roster cutdowns can’t come down to potential injuries to other players in mind. You can point to injury history for a player, but you don’t count on them. Simply put, the best 53 players must make the roster. The third-round pick spent on Sermon certainly adds to the conversation but shouldn’t factor into the decision. When you know, you know.
Sermon struggled to stack positive sessions in succession during training camp. One day, he would perform well catching the football. The next day, it would just be on the ground. Never put entire days together but did flash at times. Pass protection is paramount and a big reason why Shanahan trusts certain players. Not holding up in that area is a surefire way to add to the noise surrounding Sermon’s other aspects this preseason. Toss in, not contributing on special teams. I think it’s fair to move on.
The 49ers engaged with the Philadelphia Eagles in trade talks for Sermon per John Lynch. Lynch even called Sermon “one of the best players in camp,” which I’ll assume was to help his trade value at the time. The Eagles were clearly interested. The trade talks prepared the 49ers for Sermon to not clear waivers. The Eagles took a flyer on Sermon as he was inactive for week one against Detroit. Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, and Kenneth Gainwell are ahead on the depth chart. An injury might be his only shot to see the field at the moment.
Elijah Mitchell was always going to lead the backfield. Jeff Wilson is a “Kyle guy.” Tyrion Davis-Price cost the 49ers another third-round pick. Jordan Mason earned his spot performing as the most consistent in preseason of the position group. Plus, there is always a former Shanahan back floating around waiting for a workout.
Roster spots are precious to all teams. Regardless of draft capital invested, it is time to cut bait when you feel a player isn’t contributing.