The 49ers along with 31 other teams made their final roster cuts today, and while most the roster was already set heading into today, there are a few noteworthy surprises in the list of players cut.
Perhaps the biggest surprise was that Quarterback Josh Johnson was cut, leaving Scott Tolzien as the 49ers third string quarterback. Johnson saw the least amount of playing time this preseason, but excelled in his final game against the Chargers, completing 9 of 14 for 125 yards and two touchdowns. Johnson had worked with Harbaugh previously in college, but Tolzien’s experience with the team likely made the difference in the final decision.
Rock Cartwright was another somewhat surprising release. It was assumed that either Cartwright or fellow running back Dixon would be cut but based on play this preseason it looked as if Cartwright were the better runner. Dixon’s experience and overall potential for improvement in the future gave him the edge. Dixon has shown great desire and dedication in his two years with the 49ers, but whether the talent is there or not remains to be seen. Cartwright was a special team stand out and it will be surprising if he doesn’t catch on with another team soon.
Another special team standout was traded today. Colin Jones was traded to the Carolina Panthers for an undisclosed draft pick. While the pick is unknown, it is likely a seventh rounder for the 2014 draft. A 6th round pick in the 2011 draft, Jones was drafted as a safety but never saw any playing time at the position, but has excelled on special teams.
Wide Receivers Brett Swain and Chris Owusu round out the most name worthy cuts of the day. Swain played hard late last year when the 49ers desperately needed a receiver and showed flashes of greatness during the preseason but with the depth at wide receiver the 49ers now possess, there simply was no room for him on the 53 man roster.
Chris Owusu was a former Standford receiver and undrafted rookie who showed promise early in training camp but failed to impress during the preseason. If he is not picked up off waivers, it is likely he will land on the 49ers practice squad.
Here is a complete list of those released or traded today and a breakdown of the final 53 man roster.
OLB Ikaika Alama-Francis
OLB Eric Bakhtiari
RB Rock Cartwright
G/T Derek Hall
ILB Joe Holland
DT Tony Jerod-Eddie
OLB Cam Johnson
QB Josh Johnson
S Colin Jones (traded)
DT Matthew Masifilo
CB Anthony Mosley
TE Kyle Nelson
G/T Al Netter
WR Chris Owusu
WR Nathan Palmer
T Mike Person
TE Konrad Reuland
LB Kenny Rowe
WR Brett Swain
S Michael Thomas
T Kenny Wiggins
LB Michael Wilhoite.
QB: Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Scott Tolzien
RB: Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, Brandon Jacobs, LaMichael James, Anthony Dixon
FB: Bruce Miller
WR: Michael Crabtree, Randy moss, Mario Manningham, Ted Ginn, Kyle Williams, A. J. Jenkins
TE: Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker, Demarcus Dobbs*, Garrett Celek
LT: Joe Staley
LG: Mike Iupati, Joe Looney
C: Johnathan Goodwin, Daniel Kilgore
RG: Alex Boone, Leonard Davis
RT: Anthony Davis
DE: Ray McDonald, Ricky Jean Francois, Justin Smith, Will Tukuafu
NT: Isaac Sopoaga, Ian Williams
OLB: Aldon Smith, Ahmad Brooks, Parys Haralson
ILB: Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Larry Grant, Tavares Gooden
CB: Carlos Rogers, Tarell Brown, Chris Culliver, Perrish Cox, Tramaine Brock
FS: Dashon Goldson, C.J. Spillman
SS: Donte Whitner, Trenton Robinson, Darcel McBath
K: David Akers
P: Andy Lee
LS: Brian Jennings
KOR/ PR: Tedd Ginn, Kyle Williams, LaMichael James