The first cuts: Why they're gone

All NFL teams must have their rosters down to a mandatory 75-player limit by Tuesday, but the 49ers got an early start on that process by releasing five players Sunday. Here's a look at the five young players who were let go and why they no longer are with the 49ers.

WR Chris Francies: The 49ers brought in Francies after Brandon Jones was injured at the end of the first week of training camp, but he did little to distinguish himself in the three weeks he was with the team. Francies has previous NFL experience, which gave him an advantage over some of the other younger receivers the 49ers have in camp, but he couldn't make a dent on the team's depth chart and the Niners opted to keep around a pair of less-established youngsters – Maurice Price and Dobson Collins – for a final look this week before they must make their final roster cutdown to 53 players on Sept. 5.

CB Jahi Word-Daniels: The undrafted rookie saw considerable action during the preseason and tipped a pass last week against the Raiders that was turned into an interception. But the raw prospect will best be remembered for his play in the preseason opener against Denver, when he had multiple gaffes in coverage late in the game. First, he bumped receiver Nate Swift about 10 yards off the line for an illegal contact penalty, then later in the same drive gambled and whiffed on a third-and-long pass that was caught by former 49er Brandon Lloyd and went for a first down to keep a Denver drive alive. He later whiffed on a tackle attempt that allowed Denver receiver Kenny McKinley to break clear for big yardage and a first down, then allowed McKinley to get behind him for a 52-yard touchdown reception in the waning moments that could have given the Broncos a victory.

CB Carlos Thomas: Thomas had an interception that he returned 15 yards against the Raiders and was making an impression in recent weeks. Coach Mike Singletary even singled him out last week as a young player who has caught his eye. But the undrafted rookie had the odds stacked against him at a position where the 49ers already are stocked with proven performers. Thomas didn't see much action on defense against the Cowboys on Saturday, but he did make a big hit to stop DeAngelo Smith cold on a punt return. Thomas is a prospect with potential and could be a candidate for San Francisco's practice squad that will be assembled on Sept. 6.

K Alex Romero: Romero got a lot of action during the preseason, making all three of his field-goal attempts from 38, 28 and 24 yards. He also shanked a PAT attempt in the preseason opener and was inconsistent getting the ball deep on his kickoffs. But overall, he did not perform poorly in his extensive exposure during San Francisco's first three preseason games. But ultimately, he had no chance to make the final roster and unseat veteran Joe Nedney as the team's kicker for the regular season. Still, he put some decent performance on film for other NFL teams to see.

WR Mark Bradford: Bradford entered training camp at the bottom of the team's depth chart at wide receiver, and he couldn't do anything to climb out of that hole, even with the injuries that hit the 49ers at the position during camp. He barely got on the field during the preseason and did not record a reception in San Francisco's first three exhibition games.

Niners Digest Top Stories