San Francisco 49ers taking long view with initial 53-man roster

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The San Francisco 49ers made 35 roster moves on Friday and Saturday, trimming their roster to the NFL-mandated 53 players. Here’s a closer look at those moves:

Most significant move: Releasing wide receiver Jeremy Kerley. Kerley was the team's most productive receiver in 2016 and though his numbers weren't eye-popping, his tape was good enough to earn him a contract extension from new general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan. But Kerley never really produced in training camp or in the preseason. Combined with the emergence of rookies Trent Taylor and Victor Bolden Jr., as well as the possibility to put Aldrick Robinson in and move Marquise Goodwin to the slot in three-receiver sets, Kerley was suddenly the odd man out. The Niners guaranteed him $2.8 million on his new deal, a figure they can easily absorb after his release because they have the most cap space in the league.

Youth is served: The 49ers set the tone with their initial wave of roster moves Friday, consistently opting for younger options with upside over older, more established veterans. That trend continued Saturday and gave us a much better view of how Shanahan and Lynch are taking the long view with this roster rebuild. On Friday, they went with younger options at quarterback, running back and on the offensive line. On Saturday, that approach was driven home by releasing Kerley in favor of Taylor, Bolden and Kendrick Bourne and cutting veteran defensive linemen Quinton Dial and Chris Jones in favor of rookie D.J. Jones. All told, the 49ers kept a whopping 14 rookies on their initial 53-man roster, a group that includes five undrafted rookies in running back Matt Breida, Bolden, Bourne, safety Lorenzo Jerome and offensive lineman Erik Magnuson. The only member of the draft class not to stick is running back Joe Williams, who is headed to injured reserve with an ankle injury. Shanahan and Lynch signed six-year contracts when they took over and they sent the message this weekend that they want to build a team that is far from reaching its peak in year one.

More to come?: It should always be noted that these 53-man rosters are far from "final." Every team in the league will make roster moves in the coming days and weeks, be it for injury or a chance to improve the team. In the Niners' case, it's probably a safe bet that there will be some tweaking in the coming days, probably even in the next 24 hours. The 49ers have the second spot on the waiver wire, which means they have the second crack at every player who hits the wire, behind only the Cleveland Browns. With a need for help at cornerback and depth on the interior of the offensive and defensive lines, don't be surprised if the Niners are active in claiming and adding players.

49ers moves:

Waived or released (28): QB Matt Barkley, C Tim Barnes, TE Blake Bell, RB Kapri Bibbs, LB Austin Calitro, WR DeAndre Carter, CB Will Davis, DT Quinton Dial, DL Leger Douzable, OL J.P. Flynn, OL Andrew Gardner, RB Tim Hightower, TE Cole Hikutini, CB Asa Jackson, DT Chris Jones, WR Jeremy Kerley, OL Andrew Lauderdale, DL Sen'Derrick Marks, FB Tyler McCloskey, QB Nick Mullens, WR Louis Murphy, DL Noble Nwachukwu, WR Tim Patrick, OL Norman Price, K Nick Rose, LB Shayne Skov, WR DeAndre Smelter, S Vinnie Sunseri, OL Darrell Williams Jr.

Waived/injured (2): CB Prince Charles Iworah, CB Will Redmond.

Injured reserve (5): WR Aaron Burbridge, OL Joshua Garnett, DL Chris Jones, DB Don Jones, RB Joe Williams.