Cutting Loose Ends
September 03 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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The 49ers took a big step this weekend in putting past mistakes behind them. While trying to cut their roster down to 53 men, the 49ers cut ties with defensive tackle Reggie McGrew. McGrew, never became the player the 49ers thought he could be when they drafted him in the first round.
After Bryant Young broke both his tibia and fibula the 49ers were not sure if he would ever play football again. Needing a defensive tackle, the 49ers reached for McGrew in the first round of the draft. McGrew suffered a series of injuries but never became a real player for the 49ers.
Last season, was McGrew’s best. He was somewhat successful as a bench player, but again proved to be nothing more. Saddled by a first round contract, the 49ers worked with McGrew to reduce his cap figure this past off-season. They were able to reach an agreement, but after a summer of analysis, the 49ers determined that McGrew would still be making more than he’s worth on the team.
For a large part, McGrew was carried this far because the 49ers invested a first round draft pick in him. Had McGrew been an undrafted free agent or a player taken in the lower rounds, he likely would have been shown the door sometime ago.
History repeats its self.
As the 49ers finally part ways with McGrew, one really has to wonder if they aren’t making the same mistake all over again, this time at place kicker. Saddled by a huge contract, the fourth round pick Jeff Chandler has managed to stay on the 49ers active roster. Keeping Chandler has forced the 49ers to go light at, at least one other position.
Would Chandler still be with the club today if he was drafted in the seventh round? It’s hard to believe that he would be. The fourth round pick the 49ers invested in him seems like an awful lot just to release. And so the team is pushing the idea of trading Chandler, or keeping him around in case Cortez struggles as he did at the end of last season.
I’m not opposed to the fact that the 49ers drafted a place kicker, even as high as they did. But Cortez will have to falter pretty badly, or the 49ers will have to hit it off, for it to make sense to keep Chandler on the roster, in my opinion. The 49ers could certainly use that roster spot in other areas. Drafting Chandler didn’t bother me because I felt that one way or another the team would have a kicker this season. The competition was there, and I was happy to see that. But two roster spots? It just seems that the 49ers are trying to ‘save face’ here, and that’s all too familiar a feeling.