KD Cannon

The real reason the 49ers parted ways with KD Cannon

The real reason the 49ers parted ways with KD Cannon

One of the more notable undrafted rookies the 49ers landed this year did not even last one week on the team's 90-man roster.

At the conclusion of the rookie minicamp, the 49ers unceremoniously parted ways with Baylor wide receiver KD Cannon. The 49ers filled his roster spot with the signing of unheralded Georgia Southern wide receiver B.J. Johnson, who was invited to attend the minicamp on a tryout basis. The New York Jets claimed Cannon off waivers.

While there were questions about the urgency with which Cannon performed during the practices, 49ers wide receivers coach Mike LaFleur said the Johnson-for-Cannon swap had more to do with the team being impressed with Johnson.

“Nothing happened with KD Cannon,” LaFleur said. “It had nothing do with KD. It was more of a testament to what B.J. showed.”

Cannon ranks No. 3 all-time in Baylor receptions (195), receiving yards (3,113) and touchdowns (27). But he was not one of the 32 wide receivers selected in the draft. The 49ers invested a fifth round draft pick in Louisiana Tech slot receiver Trent Taylor.

Cannon was waived after the 49ers’ rookie minicamp last month, while the 49ers kept undrafted rookie wide receivers Victor Bolden (Oregon State) and Kendrick Bourne (Eastern Washington).

Johnson’s best college season came as a senior when he caught 42 passes for 600 yards and three touchdowns. Johnson is 6 foot 1, 210 pounds, while Cannon is listed at 5-11, 182.

LaFleur said the 49ers liked the toughness he showed while fulfilling his blocking responsibilities in Georgia Southern’s run-based offense.

“When we brought him here, seeing that size, seeing his hands, we thought, ‘This is a guy we definitely want to work with,’” said LaFleur, who noted that Johnson has been spending time with veteran Pierre Garçon. “He’s done a really good job. He really loves it.”

Johnson concluded practice on Thursday with a sprawling intermediate reception in the middle of the field on a pass from fellow rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard. When Johnson realized nobody had touched him while he was on the ground, he got to his feet and finished off the 67-yard touchdown with linebacker Donavin Newsom and safety Malik Golden in pursuit. (The 49ers waived Golden on Friday.)

LaFleur said a premium is placed on how well a player separates and how he performs on plays in which the ball is not thrown his way. The 49ers' coaching staff is always watching, he said.

“There’s one ball out there every single time we snap the ball, but we’re watching every single thing you do,” LaFleur said. “We’re watching if you’re, first of all, on your details. Second, we’re watching if you don’t get the ball. Are you separating? When you don’t get the ball and someone else gets it, are you transitioning to go block for that guy?”

49ers' salary guarantees for rookies contain offset language

49ers' salary guarantees for rookies contain offset language

UPDATED (Tuesday, 2:29 p.m.): The New York Jets claimed KD Cannon off waivers on Tuesday. The Jets now assume the terms of the contract under which he originally signed with the 49ers after going undrafted. The 49ers are off the hook for the remaining $40,000 of guaranteed salary for the 2017 season.

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The 49ers signed a talented, undrafted rookie wide receiver for a signing bonus of $5,000. That is not a significant figure for a “priority free agent.”

But the figure that got a lot of attention in recent days when the 49ers parted ways with Baylor wide receiver KD Cannon was $45,000 guaranteed. That is a lot of money for a player who was not among the 253 prospects who heard their names called during the NFL draft.

Cannon ranks third in Baylor history in receptions (195), receiving yards (3,113) and touchdowns (27). He was invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, where he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds. It was the fourth-fastest time among the 51 wide receivers in attendance.

There were 32 wideouts drafted. The 49ers selected Trent Taylor of Louisiana Tech in the fifth round.

Obviously, Cannon came to the 49ers with some question marks. And after the first practice of the team’s rookie minicamp, Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group observed, “Cannon didn’t show much urgency or hustle.”

The one thing an undrafted rookie cannot do when he steps onto the field for the first time is give the appearance – or act as if – he is not going to do everything in his power to compete hard for a job.

The 49ers released Cannon and signed rookie camp invitee B.J. Johnson of Georgia Southern, who immediately impressed the coaching staff with his approach.

So it could be said that the 49ers just wasted $45,000 on Cannon without giving him an opportunity to adjust his attitude. But the last thing any team wants to do – especially a new regime that’s trying to “change the culture” – is spend precious time attempting to light a fire under an undrafted rookie.

The case with these partial salary guarantees that are becoming more and more popular in the NFL does not mean the 49ers are immediately responsible for that money. There is standard offset language in the contract.

If Cannon ends up on a 53-man roster – or even five weeks on a team’s practice squad – and earns $40,000 or more from another NFL team this season, the 49ers will not owe him another penny.

Cannon appeared on the league’s waiver wire on Monday. If another team claims him before the deadline on Tuesday at 1 p.m. (PT), the new team will pick up the contract and the 49ers are off the hook for everything but the original $5,000 signing bonus.

But only if there is no place for him with any other team this season, will the 49ers be forced to follow-through and pay the entire $45,000 guarantee.

Sources: 49ers release Harris, Cannon

Sources: 49ers release Harris, Cannon

The 49ers will make at least two roster moves after the team held its rookie minicamp over the weekend.

The 49ers released veteran running back DuJuan Harris and undrafted rookie receiver KD Cannon, sources confirmed to NBC Sports Bay Area. It is not known if there are other cuts to the 90-man roster, in addition to Harris and Cannon.

Harris, a six-year NFL pro, appeared in 10 games for the 49ers last season. He carried 38 times for 138 yards while catching eight passes for 115 yards.

Since originally signing with the 49ers on Dec. 22, 2015, he was released and re-signed three times. He recently signed a one-year contract with the 49ers as a non-tendered restricted free agent.

The 49ers also waived Cannon, who ranks No. 3 in Baylor history in receptions (195), receiving yards (3,113) and touchdowns (27). There were 32 wide receivers selected in the NFL draft. The 49ers chose Louisiana Tech slot receiver Trent Taylor in the fifth round.

The 49ers decided to quickly move on from Cannon after seeing him on the practice field and in the meeting room – even after guaranteeing him $45,000 as an undrafted rookie.

UPDATED: The 49ers will sign offensive lineman Richard Levy of UConn, who was one of 56 players who took part in a tryout during rookie minicamp in Santa Clara over the weekend, a league source told NBC Sports Bay Area. Levy is listed at 6 foot 6, 316 pounds. The 49ers will also sign safety Chanceller James of Boise State, reports the Sacramento Bee. James is listed at 6-2, 208.