On Tuesday the 49ers made several unexpected moves, cutting their versatile preseason star quarterback along with Jim Harbaugh’s “perfect football player” to sign a questionable linebacker and — reportedly — a veteran signal caller.
The 49ers waived rookie B.J. Daniels — a seventh-round draft pick — and fullback/linebacker Owen Marecic were waived and signed former Patriots 2010 second-rounder Jermaine Cunningham to a one-year deal. San Francisco will soon add ex-Cardinals quarterback John Skelton.
So why these guys? And why now?
Daniels led the 49ers to two preseason wins while also being used as a kick returner, running back, and wide receiver this off-season. But seeing at the helm anytime soon wasn’t realistic.
The obvious intention is for the 49ers to sign him to the practice squad if he clears waivers, which isn’t guaranteed, given his skill set and the current NFL trend toward dual-threat quarterbacks.
Daniels was projected to be a practice squad player, but was kept on the 53-man roster during final cut-downs for fear that another team would claim him. One month later, the 49ers are hoping he goes unclaimed on the wire.
If something freakish did happen to Colin Kaepernick — knock on wood — the 49ers would certainly want their season in a veteran’s hands, though it’s becoming clear they don’t want McCoy in there.
Enter Skelton who went 8-9 in 17 starts in three seasons in Arizona throwing 15 touchdowns and 25 interceptions while averaging 4.3 yards per carry.
The 6-6, 250-pound Skelton was cut by the Bengals this off-season and also worked out for the 49ers. The 49ers also recently inquired about Brady Quinn.
Bringing in Skelton isn’t another Seneca Wallace-type deal designed to get Colt McCoy to restructure his contract again. Skelton could very well unseat McCoy as the No. 2.
Marecic worked out for the 49ers prior to the start of the season and was signed when Bruce Miller struggled against Seattle.
Yet Marecic appeared sparingly on special teams against the Colts and was inactive at St. Louis. No one is in a hurry to sign him even if Harbaugh loves him.
With Aldon Smith out indefinitely, the 49ers need outside linebacker depth, hence Cunningham’s signing. He plays both end positions as well and made 14 starts in 36 games with New England, but was also suspended for PED use last season and arrested in 2007 for assault.
Corey Lemonier and Dan Skuta filled in admirably for Smith last week so how much Cunningham actually plays is questionable.
At the end of the day, Marecic winds up as the only one without a job.