New moves on Monday

Young hearts get broken easily in the NFL. One day you make the final roster of the San Francisco 49ers as an undrafted rookie free agent, the next day you are unceremoniously released. Such is the case of linebacker Brandon Moore, who was officially a 49er less than 24 hours before being cut on Monday so the team could claim defensive tackle Garrett Johnson off waivers from the Denver Broncos.

Moore, one of eight linebackers kept by the 49ers after Sunday's final cutdown to a 53-man roster, lost out to Frank Strong and Quincy Stewart to remain on the team. Though the Niners liked what the 242-pound Moore brought as a true middle linebacker, he was not as capable on special teams as Strong and Stewart, and that's the area from which the Niners will need the most help from the final linebackers on their roster.

 

Johnson was claimed because Jim Flanigan – the team's top backup at defensive tackle – has an injured left hamstring and appeared on the team's injury report as questionable on Monday. Defensive John Engelberger (appendectomy) also is questionable and is unlikely to play against the Giants, making the Niners a little thin along their defensive line.

 

Moore now will go through the process of clearing waivers and is a strong candidate to be asked back by the Niners to join their five-player practice squad if he is not claimed by another team. In that scenario, the Niners would have to release one of the five players they signed to their practice squad Monday.

 

Those five players are:

 

Receiver James Jordan: He might have been the final player the Niners lopped from their roster when the team made final cuts Sunday and opted to go with just four receivers to start the season. Jordan was impressive during the preseason with seven receptions for 107 yards and one TD, and was second on the team with a 15.3-yard average per catch.

 

Safety John Keith: General manager Terry Donahue said Sunday the Niners were interested in bringing back their fourth-round draft pick from 2000, who still needs some time to return to form from the season-ending knee injury he sustained last year.

 

Offensive tackle Austin Lee: The converted defensive tackle showed the Niners some things they liked during the preseason and they will continue to try and develop him.

 

Defensive end Darryl Sanders: Another guy who made an impression late in games during the preseason. Niners would like to see him get bigger and develop skills.

 

Receiver Antoine Tolliver: It's not a bad idea for the Niners to have two receivers on their practice squad, and this small but shifty prospect also has some return skills.

 

 


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