Image Credit: Tony Avelar/Associated Press
After restructuring the contracts of center Weston Richburg and linebacker Kwon Alexander, the 49ers head into the offseason with roughly $13 million in salary cap space. With a host of free agents including Arik Armstead, Emmanuel Sanders, and Jimmie Ward, the front office and coaching staff may look to the practice squad as a way to fill the back of the roster while keeping salaries in check. Who are some players that may get the call to the 53-man roster next season?
Coming out of Iowa Reynolds was a one-year starter who possessed the athleticism to play any interior position on the offensive line. Reynolds likely benefited from a year on the practice squad as he was viewed as an aggressive run blocker but lacked ideal size and strength for the NFL. With backup Ben Garland an unrestricted free agent and right guard possibly a position that team looks to improve, Reynolds could be the answer if he took advantage of his time on the practice squad to add the weight and strength the team was looking for
Harris was a 2018 sixth round draft pick out of Florida, not much was expected from the rookie as he recovered from a ruptured Achilles tendon his first year. To the surprise of many Harris saw some playing time his first year following a season ending injury to Jaquiski Tartt; he delivered a few splash plays but his deficiencies in the passing game were apparent. Harris started 2019 on the practice squad, but following another injury to Tartt, Harris was once again promoted from the practice squad. He had a rough outing against New Orleans, giving up touchdowns on consecutive drives. He settled down and eventually played well in Tartt’s place. Harris’ strong play at the end of 2019 may assure him a spot on the roster in 2020.
David Givens-Defensive Tackle
Signed as an undrafted free agent out of Penn State following the 2019 draft, Givens thrived at the point of attack but became a non-factor if his initial move didn’t work. As injuries mounted along the defensive front, Givens saw a promotion from the practice squad at the end of 2019, filling in as depth piece through the playoffs but doing nothing of note. Working against Givens was a lack of size for an interior defensive lineman (285 pounds) and also the wealth of talent the 49ers had on their front four. Looking ahead, the 49ers have both Armstead and Sheldon Day set for free agency and they still aren’t sure what they have in third-year players Jullian Taylor and Kentavius Street. If Givens puts on the desired weight, he could work himself onto the roster as a rotational depth piece heading into 2020.
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