Five most surprising developments of the day

Five more surprising developments from 49ers’ 53-man roster appeared first on NBC Sports Bayarea

The week’s shocking development came on the eve of the NFL’s mandatory cuts to 53 players per team.

But Jimmy Garoppolo taking a $17.2 million pay cut to stay with the 49ers wasn’t the only interesting development in a two-day span for the organization.

The 49 had decisions to make. Would they keep two quarterbacks or three on their active roster? Then, which general would they decide was worth protecting?

Those questions led to Tuesday’s most surprising developments as the 49ers built their starting roster with the regular season opener looming on Sept. 11 against the Chicago Bears:

1. Purdy secures the No. 3 spot

The 49ers re-signed veteran quarterback Nate Sudfeld in the offseason and gave him a one-year contract worth $2 million fully guaranteed.

This was at a time when Garoppolo was almost certain to be playing for another team, and the 49ers had no idea they would be able to land a quarterback with a realistic chance of earning a roster spot.

Sudfeld seemed to be fine during training camp. But Purdy impressed coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch to the point where they were content with him entering the season as the team’s No. 2 quarterback behind Trey Lance.

He might have been fine with Purdy as the team’s backup. But they love him as the team’s No. 3 quarterback behind Lance and Garoppolo.

Meanwhile, the 49ers are hoping some team will pick up Sudfeld to offset some of that $2 million on the team’s books.

2. The undrafted rookie runs through the hole

The 49ers have a knack for finding running backs without a draft. In fact, three different undrafted players have led the 49ers in rushing over the last five seasons.

Perhaps, at some point, Georgia Tech’s Jordan Mason can add his name to that list.

The 49ers went heavy on the running back with JaMycal Hasty being the only one to receive bad news. The 49ers kept quarterbacks Eliza Mitchell, Jeff Wilson Jr., Ty Davis-Price, Trey Shermon and Mason on the 53-man roster.

Mason took advantage of his opportunities to the point where the 49ers didn’t want to risk losing him over the waiver wire. He led the 49ers in rushing during the preseason with 94 yards and a 4.9 average.

3 The final spot on the O-line goes to . . .

Guard Jason Poe, an undrafted rookie out of Mercer, drew a lot of attention in the offseason and during training camp.

At one point, it wasn’t too far-fetched to think that Poe could somehow compete for a starting job. But when it came time for the 49ers to keep a ninth offensive lineman, it was a big no-no for Poe.

Draft pick Nick Zakelj of Fordham didn’t draw much attention during camp. But the sixth-round draft pick proved enough for the decision makers to land the final spot among the team’s offensive linemen.

4. Turai is an odd-out

The 49ers defensive line was deep. Some tough decisions had to be made.

Defensive end Kemoko Turay joined the 49ers this season after posting 5.5 sacks with the Indianapolis Colts last season.

Of the players in camp with the 49ers this summer, only Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead have more sacks during the 2021 season.

However, Turay did not earn a spot on the 49ers’ inaugural season roster. The 49ers ultimately decided to bring in 10 defensive linemen.

Defensive end Jordan Willis was also on the 49ers’ cut list Tuesday, but the club and Willis agreed to reunite Wednesday.

Willis and Tyler Kroft agreed to re-sign with the 49ers after Jimmie Ward (hamstring) and linebacker Curtis Robinson (ankle) were placed on injured reserve.

5. One of the nine options is cut

Two of the 49ers’ nine draft picks will not open the season on the 53-man roster. The 49ers placed defensive tackle Kalia Davis (knee) on the non-football injured list last week and are likely headed for a redshirt year.

The only draft pick waived Tuesday was Tariq Castro-Fields, whom the 49ers selected out of Penn State in the sixth round.

Castro-Fields has good size, but needs to work on getting stronger to compete at the next level. He could be a prime candidate to return to the 49ers’ practice squad if he clears waivers.

RELATED: See the 49ers’ initial 53-man roster for the 2022 season

Another defensive back to keep an eye on is Dontae Johnson, who was also cut on Tuesday. Johnson has been signed and released so often, there isn’t enough time in the day to provide an accurate count.

The biggest shock would be if Johnson doesn’t make another appearance with the 49ers at some point down the road.

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