Three years ago, when the 49ers were bad and rebuilding, you could understand if they had a few players on their roster who didn’t really deserve NFL jobs.
Now the 49ers have an elite list. In September, they will have to release a few quality players simply because the 49ers cannot keep them all. This means the 49ers must release players who do not deserve to work on the team this year. I can no longer keep them for sentimental reasons.
Here are five players the 49ers should cut before the regular season.
1. Quarterback C.J. Beathard.
Kyle Shanahan thought Beathard was the next Kirk Cousins. Washington drafted Cousins with the 102nd pick in 2012 when Shanahan was its offensive coordinator. So in 2017, when Shanahan became head coach of the 49ers, he moved to 104th pick to take on Beathard.
Beathard is not the next Kirk Cousins.
Beathard is not an NFL player. He may have had a future at some point, but the 49ers played him before he was ready, played him in terrible teams and he was beaten. Brian Hoyer too. These two never seemed to recover mentally.
The 49ers probably feel at least partially responsible for Beathard’s fights because they played him too young. He started 10 games, lost nine and was fired 37 times.
But now they have to continue. They no longer need him. They already have one of the best backup quarterbacks in the NFL – Nick Mullens. They don’t need a third quarterback.
2. Dante Pettis wide receiver.
Pettis played well during his rookie season when Mullens was the quarterback. Pettis started seven games, caught 60% of his targets and gained 467 receiving yards.
But he bombed in his second season when Jimmy Garoppolo was the quarterback. Pettis started four games, caught only 45.8% of his targets and gained only 109 receiving yards. So the 49ers put Pettis on the bench, then scratched him for their playoff games against the Vikings and Packers, and then made him inactive during the Super Bowl. Quite down.
Now Pettis is no higher than seventh on the 49ers wide receiver depth chart behind Deebo Samuel, Kendrick Bourne, Trent Taylor, Jalen Hurd and rookies Brandon Aiyuk and Jauan Jennings.
The 49ers will likely not have cut Aiyuk or Jennings – the Niners have just passed draft picks on them. They probably won’t cut Taylor – Garoppolo likes him. They probably weren’t going to cut Hurd – they drafted him in the third round last year and he got injured. And they probably won’t cut Bourne – he caught 30 assists last season.
Should the 49ers keep seven wide receivers just to make room on the Pettis list?
Pettis has no role in the offensive or special teams, and Garoppolo does not seem to trust him. The 49ers should cut Pettis if they can’t trade him. Who cares about trading in the second round of the 2018 draft to get it? Acknowledge the error and continue. The 49ers replaced him.
3. Guard Tom Compton.
He’s a 31-year-old goalie who started just five games last season with the Jets and played poorly – worse than Mike Person, the 49ers goalkeeper signed Compton to replace him.
The 49ers signed Compton because Washington drafted it in 2012 when Shanahan was its offensive coordinator. This means that Compton already knows the complex terminology of the Shanahan scheme.
But Daniel Brunskill too. He played for the 49ers last season and played well, unlike Compton. Brunskill started two games in the right guard and more than played his own week 16 game against former defensive player of the year Aaron Donald.
Brunskill should start on the right, and his successors should be Ross Reynolds and rookie Colton McKivitz. The 49ers don’t need Compton. And if they cut it before the season starts, they’ll save $ 2 million.
4. Ball carrier Tevin Coleman.
Coleman and Compton are similar.
The Falcons drafted Coleman in 2015 when Shanahan was their offensive coordinator, and the 49ers signed Coleman in 2019 because he knew Shanahan’s offense and could play right away.
But Coleman’s knowledge of the 49ers system did not lead to success. He averaged just 4.0 yards per rush while the rest of the offense averaged 4.9 yards per rush.
Coleman’s racing style did not match the 49ers. He likes to slow down in the backfield and cut behind the center and the goalkeeper. This style worked for him in Atlanta because the Falcons have a great center – Alex Mack. But the 49ers’ best blocker is their close end, George Kittle. Which means they need half-petticoats that explode on the edge. And Coleman didn’t have the explosion he had when he was younger. He is now a 210-pound ball carrier who runs between tackles. Not ideal.
Raheem Mostert is a much better fit for the 49ers’ offense than Coleman. The same is true for the recruits of the free agents undrafted JaMycal Hasty and Salvon Ahmed. They are all better outdoor runners than Coleman. And if the 49ers cut Coleman before the season starts, they’ll save another $ 2 million.
5. Defensive lineman Solomon Thomas.
The 49ers will not save a lot of money if they cut Thomas – only $ 90,000.
They should cut it anyway.
Not for course savings. They should cut Thomas just because he’s not one of their top 53 players. It never was.
The 49ers drafted Thomas with the third pick in 2017 – which is why he is still on the team. In retrospect, he should have been an undrafted free agent. It has never had a real impact on the 49ers. He’s a terrible pass-rusher, because he sticks to the offensive linemen as his uniform is made of Velcro. And he is not a particularly good running defender either, as he is small for a defensive tackle and has short arms. And when he has the chance to play, he usually jumps offside.
Thomas is the 49ers worst defensive lineman. Jullian Taylor, Kentavius Street and Kevin Givens all have a greater impact.
Cut Thomas. Keep a player with a future.