Joshua Garnett

Projected 49ers roster: 53-man outlook entering NFL Preseason finale

Projected 49ers roster: 53-man outlook entering NFL Preseason finale

The 49ers have built the depth at the bottom end of their roster to the point that some good players will receive bad news this weekend.
 
The roster cut looms. Following the 49ers’ final preseason game on Thursday night at Levi’s Stadium, the club’s initial 53-man roster must be formed.
 
Coach Kyle Shanahan said earlier this summer he prefers a two-game preseason, so it’s clear that the players who will see the bulk of the playing time this week will be ticketed for release. Perhaps, only a handful of roster spots remain in question.
 
Here is NBC Sports Bay Area's projection of the 53 men who will be able to call themselves “49ers” when the regular season begins.

VIEW ROSTER PROJECTIONS HERE

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan provides injury updates on key players

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan provides injury updates on key players

After two seasons of an inordinate amount of injuries, the 49ers could be peaking health wise at the right time.

Coach Kyle Shanahan gave an injury update via conference call Sunday following the team’s third preseason game, and the news was positive. Several players will be returning to practice, and some will even be cleared to play in Thursday’s game facing the Chargers. 

The only player who sustained an injury facing the Chiefs was Kyle Juszczyk. X-rays on his hand came back negative after it collided with a helmet. The team had not planned to have him play on Thursday regardless. 

Most of the players who were injured prior to the game remained in Santa Clara instead of traveling to Kansas City so they could work with the training staff during the short week. 

Here’s the list of players and what Shanahan had to say about their status for the week: 

Nick Bosa (ankle)

"He’s still rehabbing and doing well," Shanahan said. "We know there’s a chance for him in Week 1, and that’s what we’re hoping for, but that would get a little bit more clear I think after this week.”

Bosa sustained an ankle sprain on Aug. 7 during practice when an offensive lineman fell onto his lower leg. The 49ers, at first, feared a significant injury. But there was an amount of relief when Bosa was evaluated and it was discovered he had not sustained a high-ankle sprain. Bosa, the No. 2 overall draft pick, had gotten off to a strong start in training camp.

DB K’Waun Williams (knee) 

“I think we’ll up his stuff a little bit this week. I don’t know if we’ll be able to have a practice to involve him. We’ll see here over these next two days. We plan to get him back on the field in individual and stuff, but I don’t know if he’ll be ready for practice.” 

Williams has been solid as the slot cornerback for the 49ers. While his job isn’t in jeopardy if he can’t immediately return to the field, it does have an impact on the other defensive backs. If he needs more time to recover from arthroscopic surgery on his knee, Jimmie Ward might need to assume that role, which would open up a spot for Tarvarius Moore at safety. 

S Adrian Colbert (hamstring) 

“We expect him to come back and be able to play this week.” 

Colbert had an impactful end to his rookie season, but has yet been able to live up to the expectations of the coaching staff, partially due to injury. What he really needed was to make the most out of every snap in the preseason to earn a spot.

He has one more shot left during the preseason after missing the game in Kansas City. 

OG Joshua Garnett (finger) 

“Should be able to practice and play.” 

The depth on the offensive line is thin after losing swing tackle Shon Colman for the season. Garnett has needed to prove his worth of being a former first-round draft pick, but there is a little likelihood that he will be cut without better options on the roster. 

C Weston Richburg (knee) 

“Hoping to activate Richburg this week so they can get him into practice this week. It depends on how it went, when we left him behind. I was told over the phone that it went well. 

“We’ll see tomorrow when we bring him out onto the field. If he’s good enough to go with some people, then we’ll get him off of that so at least he can take some snaps with our quarterback and get a guy in front of him instead of just a bag and a trainer.”

The 49ers need Richburg healthy to protect their franchise quarterback, but they also are thinking long term. With Mike Person available to play at guard, Ben Garland had a respectable showing with the first team in Kansas City and could stand in until Richburg is completely healthy. 

RB Raheem Mostert (quad) 

"Mostert, he had that quad over the weekend so I don’t know how he is today, but hopefully he will be able to get back this week. I don’t know if he will tomorrow.”

Because of Mostert’s special teams abilities his roster spot is not in jeopardy, but it could affect how the team looks at Jeff Wilson Jr., and Austin Walters. 

RB Jerick McKinnon (knee)

“McKinnon, we are hoping to get out there a little bit this week not necessarily in the game, but practice.” 

The team will not rush McKinnon back as they have enough depth in the running backs room to be effective until he can return. Expect Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman to carry the bulk of the work. 

[RELATED: 49ers plan to keep three QBs but always listen on trades]

Other players fighting for a roster spot at positions with depth that should be able to practice and then play facing the Chargers are LB Elijah Lee (thumb), DL Jullian Taylor (back) and DL Ronald Blair (groin) 

TE George Kittle (calf), DE Dee Ford (knee) and WR Jalen Hurd (back) will all likely return to practice but are not expected to play in the game on Thursday. 

49ers decline Joshua Garnett’s fifth-year contract option pre-deadline

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AP

49ers decline Joshua Garnett’s fifth-year contract option pre-deadline

The 49ers did not pick up the fifth-year contract option on guard Joshua Garnett ahead of Friday's deadline, meaning the 2016 first-round draft pick can become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. 

After starting in 11 games as a rookie in 2016, the offensive lineman has played in just seven over the last two seasons. He missed the entirety of the 2017 season and then most of the 2018 preseason with a knee injury. Garnett dislocated his toe after 14 snaps in the 2018 season opener, and then underwent thumb surgery in November before playing in three of the 49ers' final four games.

At Februray's NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, both 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch said they've been happy with Garnett's performance when he has been healthy. That hasn't happened enough, according to Shanahan.

“I’m just really hoping that he can come back and get in a full OTAs, a full training camp," Shanahan told reporters in Indianapolis at the time. "With his ability and if he can get in the practice time, then he should have a good chance to help us.”

[RELATED: 49ers plan to ease top draft pick Bosa back into action]

Had the 49ers picked up Garnett's option, he would have been owed the average salary of the third through 25th-highest players at his position when the option was exercised. Thus, Garnett would have been paid $10.350 million in the 2020 season.

Instead, he has one more chance to prove to the 49ers that he can stay healthy.