Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports


Four 49ers players named to NFL.com’s ultimate 53-man roster

Jun 14, 2021 at 2:41 PM--


Four San Francisco 49ers players were named to NFL.com's "ultimate 53-man roster." Like any honorary roster, this one consists of some of the top names in the game — with one caveat. The roster must be constructed using the 2021 salary cap of $182.5 million and each player's salary for the upcoming season. That means the roster can't be stuffed with Pro Bowlers and All-Pros as backups. Anthony Holzman-Escareno created the roster, and he had some tough decisions to make.

It's still an impressive collection of players, though. The starting lineup has big names like Patrick Mahomes at quarterback and defensive tackle Aaron Donald.

Which four Niners made the 53-player list? That would be tight end George Kittle, left tackle Trent Williams, and linebackers Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw. The first three are listed as starters. Another player who was considered but didn't make the cut was defensive end Nick Bosa.

Kittle and Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs are the team's starting duo at tight end. Rob Gronkowski of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Garrett Griffin of the New Orleans Saints are their backups.

"Stacking Kelce and Kittle makes this offense almost impossible to defend," wrote Holzman-Escareno. "In 2018, Kittle set an NFL record with 1,377 receiving yards at tight end. Last season, Kelce eclipsed that mark with 1,416 receiving yards in just 15 games. ... Kittle missed eight games in 2020, but he still averaged 79.3 receiving yards per, good for second among tight ends behind Kelce (94.4). Kittle can provide elite receiving and run-after-catch ability, while also being a devastating run blocker. ... Plus, a locker room with Kelce, Kittle, and Gronk would be a happy one."

Another 49ers-Chiefs duo anchors the edges of the offensive line. Williams and Orlando Brown are the two offensive tackles. Williams is the roster's highest-paid offensive lineman, but his $8.2 million salary in 2021 makes it manageable.

"Williams just became the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history, but he comes with a very manageable Year 1 cap hit," wrote Holzman-Escareno. "Since 2012, the only season he missed the Pro Bowl was 2019, the year he did not play. In his first campaign with the 49ers, Williams was Pro Football Focus' highest-graded offensive tackle."

Warner and Darius Leonard of the Indianapolis Colts are the starting linebackers. The 49ers linebacker seems like a bargain at $3.6 million. That number will inflate next year, though.

"Warner is an absolute steal for a third-round pick," wrote Holzman-Escareno. "An elite coverage linebacker, the Niners standout finally got his rightful due with Pro Bowl and All-Pro nods in 2020. He led all linebackers in overall and coverage grades by Pro Football Focus in 2020. ... Greenlaw is a depth player who has plus coverage skills and can also contribute on special teams."

Click here to view the entire 53-man roster.





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