Who May Be Going And Why:
January 22 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
Today, January 22nd is the deadline for NFL teams to declare five players from their roster to be eligible for the Texans expansion draft. While teams are likely to lose a few players on their roster that they likely would like to keep, if a player is chosen by the Texans, the team no longer assumes any financial responsibility to that player. Thus there is a silver lining.
While nothing is official at the time of writing this article, there are a few 49ers players that seem to be on the bubble of being exposed to the Texans. Below find a list of some possibilities for the draft to be held in mid-February.
John Keith - The back up strong safety spent the season injured. However Keith elected not to rehab at the team facility, and this may have upset the 49ers front office. Keith was projected to be the starter before his injury. He excels at his position and on special teams, but with the emergence of Zack Bronson, and Lance Schulters encouraging words of wanting to return to the team, Keith may become expendable. If the team does lose him, it will be a lot of talent missed.
Greg Clark - Greg Clark, the 49ers veteran tight end has spent most of his career with the 49ers battling injuries. A healthy Clark is one of the best blocking tight ends in the league and a decent receiver. But with Eric Johnson coming on extremely strong this past season, and Clark’s large salary it appears as if the 49ers would like to move in another direction.
Anthony Parker - At cornerback, Parker finally looked like he was maturing this past season, but then he suffered another injury. Parker has battled injuries throughout his time with the 49ers, and did show just enough talent this past season to possibly bait the Texans into taking him. With Rashad Holman filling in at about the same level, Parker could see his name on the unprotected list.
Jonas Lewis - Running back Jonas Lewis spent the season injured, but was fighting for the starting role quite well in pre-season. Lewis also excels on special teams, and with so much depth at the 49ers running back position, Lewis could be made available without the team taking any significant shot to its talent pool.
Terrell Owens - Recent rumors have the 49ers and Texans working out a deal where the 49ers would acquire a series of high draft picks in exchange for Owens. If such a deal were to be struck, Owens would be made available to the Texans in order for the 49ers to eliminate any financial responsibility to Owens.
Jr. Bryant - Defensive tackle Jr. Bryant was nearly released this past off-season. While he may never play football again, if the 49ers and Texans strike the Owens deal, Bryant and his large contract could find his way onto this list.
JJ Stokes - If Terrell Owens is not made available to the Texans it is possible though highly unlikely JJ Stokes will be made available. Stokes has never measured up to the expectations the 49ers had of him. And though he came on strong at the end of the season, his high salary puts him at risk.
I know I’ve listed more then five players above, but there are more than five possibilities. With the deadline nearly upon us it will be interesting to see exactly who the 49ers declare, and how close my predictions were.