The 49ers believed they would not have been able to sneak undrafted rookie running back Jordan Mason through waivers.
The 49ers had intelligence that if Mason were not protected on the team's 53-man roster, he would have quickly ended up with another organization.
With a strong offseason program and training camp, Mason beat out Trey Sermon, a third-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Both players had spots on the 49ers’ initial 53-man roster on Tuesday.
That lasted just one day, as the 49ers had to create a roster spot to add offensive lineman Blake Hance off waivers.
“When we decided to keep (five halfbacks) on the original 53, we were going to ride it as long as we could,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said on Thursday.
“I think the transaction that made it happen quicker than we thought was when Hance became available.”
The 49ers scoured the waiver wire and decided to place a waiver claim on Hance after the Cleveland Browns cut him on Tuesday.
“He brings real, five-position versatility,” Lynch said of Hance. “Sometimes we talk about versatility, but he’s actually done it in our league. He’s played five positions and has that center versatility, which is so important.”
Once the 49ers acquired Hance, the club waived Sermon. Lynch said Sermon was the subject of trade discussions initiated by other teams this summer, but nothing materialized.
The 49ers will find out after 1 p.m. on Thursday whether another team claimed Sermon.
“If not, we’d love to have Trey back because he really has a bright future in this league,” Lynch said. “It just came down to numbers.”
The 49ers have three openings on their practice squad -- with one spot ticketed for Sermon, if he does not end up elsewhere.