The San Francisco 49ers had an interesting weekend cutting their roster down from the 88 they had before the 4th preseason game to the 53-player roster they will field on week 1 against the Carolina Panthers. It became quite clear that the Niners did their best to balance having a veteran presence on the roster while still going in on the youth movement GM John Lynch and HC Kyle Shanahan started this offseason. Today let’s take a look at some of the more surprising cuts the Niners made.
LB Ahmad Brooks
If there is one cut from this week that truly feels surprising, it had to be this one. Brooks has always been the player to do ~just enough~ to get by. He put up seasons worth of play that, while may not have jumped off film, have always been respectable and, due to the lack of talent on the roster the last few seasons, allowed him to lead the team in sacks the last couple of seasons. This cut was especially surprising given the lack of depth in the OLB/EDGE positions, with LBs Eli Harold and Dekoda Watson behind him. They made have seen enough of Harold and Watson to warrant cutting Brooks. This may have just been the team going all in on the youth of the team. It could of also been Watson and Harold offering more to the team (Watson does a lot on special teams). Now we just need to see what kind of growing pains there will be now that his steady production will be missing.
RB Tim Hightower
Tim Hightower was brought in shortly after the start of the 2017 free agency period. Hightower was expected to be the #2 back behind RB Carlos Hyde, but the emergence of RB Matt Breida and RB Joe Williams (Williams will spend this year on Injured Reserve after an ankle injury in the final preseason game). Hightower sealed his fate in the final preseason game, rushing 8 times for 21 yards (2.6 YPC). Hightowers cut is surprising as he was brought in as one of “their guys”, that Lynch and Shanahan sought out to help build the team, and illustrates the competition first nature of how they are building the roster.
OL Tim Barnes
Tim Barnes signed with the team during the 2017 Free Agency period to be a depth addition as well as compete for the backup Center position. Once training camp started, Barnes unseated OL Jeremy Zuttah as the backup Center, which allowed SF to cut Zuttah who eventually resigned with BAL. This cut is surprising since this leaves the backup center job up to OL Erik Magnuson, an undrafted free agent. They may see enough in Magnuson to be comfortable with him being the backup Center but only time will tell.
WR Jeremy Kerley
Jeremy Kerley may be competing with Ahmad Brooks for most surprising cut. Kerley came into this offseason as the most productive wide receiver on the roster from last season and seemed to have secured the starting slot WR role. Then came WR Trent Taylor, the guy Lynch and Shanahan drafted in the 5th round. By all accounts Taylor has excelled not just as slot WR but as a punt returner as well. Taylor took over 1st team reps during training camp and never really gave them back. The emergence of Taylor, mixed with the emergences of Victor Bolden Jr. and Kendrick Bourne left no place for Kerley.
CB Will Redmond
Will Redmond was drafted last year by then GM Trent Baalke to help bolster the Nickel CB Position. Baalke was overconfident and adamant that Redmond would be ready for the start of the season, but after a few snaps during the preseason, ended up reverting back to IR. Redmond came into this season supposedly completely healthy after the ACL tear that plagued his freshman season. Redmond seemed to be doing well and competing with CB K’Waun Williams for the starting Nickel CB spot, but once roster cuts came around ended up being put on IR again, along with CB Prince Charles Iworah. Their injuries haven’t been disclosed as of yet, but hopefully this is just a way of stashing a couple of players they want to further develop.
We here at 49ersHUB wish the best of luck to all players that were cut from the team. Stay tuned for more great content!