The 49ers defense will have several players coming back soon, with one of them returning this week. Aldon Smith will be back from his 9-game suspension in where he had multiple incidents of the field from a house incident in 2012 to multiple DUIs.
Another player who could come back this week is DL Glenn Dorsey, where he is recovering from a torn bicep injury which he suffered in training camp. He started practicing with the team on Monday, October 27 which gives the team one week to make a decision with him. They can either activate him soon for Week 11 vs. the New York Giants, or wait until Monday, November 17 where his 21-day clock expires and they must put him on the injured reserve or add him to the 53-man roster.
At least one roster transaction will be made this week with Smith returning. The question is, who becomes cut in order to make room for both Smith and Dorsey? Here is a list of players who could be cut or removed from the 53-man roster this month:
QB Josh Johnson: Johnson has been on and off the 49ers 53-man roster multiple times as the team’s third quarterback. The 49ers have signed him mid-week only to release him before the games on Sunday in place of a special teams player. However, no 49ers teams has had less than three quarterbacks under Jim Harbaugh. With Johnson not eligible for the practice squad, they would have to search elsewhere if they wanted another quarterback to be on the scout team.
WR Bruce Ellington*: Ellington was carted off on Sunday vs. the New Orleans Saints after taking a hit. If the injury proves to be serious, they can place him on the injured reserve and spare someone else’s job on the roster.
Update: Ellington has a minor sprain and should stay on the 53-man roster.
DL Tony Jerod-Eddie: Jerod-Eddie has been viewed as a stop gap for the development of Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial, both players who are considered to be the future. However, he provides versatility along the defensive line and can be plugged into any situation for the short term. The only way Jerod-Eddie is cut is if Dorsey is healthy enough to play this week.
NT Ian Williams*: Williams suffered a fractured tibia or fibula, according to Jim Harbaugh after the Sunday’s game. Like Ellington, they can place Williams on the DL and add Dorsey in the event that the injury becomes serious.
Update: Ian Williams suffered a broken leg and is out indefinitely, but sources are saying it is not season ending.
LB Chase Thomas: Thomas was added to the 53-man roster on Saturday with the injury to Dan Skuta as the 49ers needed to fill out their OLB depth. It’s possible that Thomas could be cut, then re-added to the practice squad in place of Aldon Smith.
CB Leon McFadden: Like Thomas, McFadden is also practice squad eligible if he were cut. He was added to the 53-man roster before the Week 9 game vs. the St. Louis Rams when it was revealed that Tramaine Brock would not play. Last Sunday, he was inactive vs. the Saints.
S L.J. McCray: A training camp and preseason standout, McCray earned a job as a special teams player. However, the 49ers had him inactive on Sunday against the Saints, leaving the possibility that he is the 53rd man on the roster. If the 49ers view other players are better on special teams, they could easily cut him with 10 other defensive backs on the 53-man roster.