The San Francisco 49ers are releasing veteran wide receiver Mohamed Sanu after just three games with the team, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The decision comes as the Niners are starting to get back to full strength at wide receiver, especially with Deebo Samuel returning to the field against the Eagles in Week 4.
“Source: The 49ers are releasing WR Mohamed Sanu, as SF gets healthy at the position with some of their young guys,” Rapoport tweeted. “Rare for an experienced, accomplished WR to be free in early October.”
Sanu only managed to have one reception for nine yards in his three games with the 49ers proving not to be as much of a factor as we have previously seen from the receiver during his NFL career. Rookie wideout Brandon Aiyuk has been able to contribute right away for the 49ers. San Francisco is also expecting Richie James to come off the injured reserve list soon, making Sanu expendable.
“49ers Deebo Samuel returning to action joining: Brandon Aiyuk Kendrick Bourne Trent Taylor Dante Pettis Richie James coming back from IR …is likely why this is happening and they may need the roster spot to bring in a defensive back — the position with the most injuries,” NBC Sports Bay Area’s Jennifer Lee Chan broke down the Niners’ receiver depth on Twitter.
Shanahan Had Familiarity With Sanu From Their Time Together With the Falcons
Shanahan spent time with Sanu in Atlanta when he was the Falcons offensive coordinator prior to joining the 49ers. He was hoping their familiarity would put Sanu on the fast track to contributing right away to the 49ers offense. Things did not go exactly as planned, but Sanu was not helped by Jimmy Garoppolo being sidelined for the majority of his time in San Francisco.
“That’s the benefit of being with someone before,” Shanahan explained after the team signed Sanu, per NBC Sports Bay Area. “He’s familiar with the offense. He only had one year away from it and did some very similar verbiage in Atlanta, even after I left. …He’s familiar with it. It’s good that we got him done so he can at least listen to our meetings. He can’t be here, but he has an idea of the game plan, can see it all.”
The 49ers Are Waiting to Unleash Deebo Samuel
It is no coincidence that Sanu’s release comes just after Samuel’s first game of the season. Samuel returned to the field against the Eagles, but the 49ers limited his usage in his first game back. Prior to the Week 4 matchup, Shanahan indicated the team wanted to be smart with how they eased Samuel back into competition.
“Deebo was our starting receiver last year,” Shanahan noted, per 49ers.com. “He earned that early in the year and we kept it that way most of the year. I don’t expect him to be like that on Sunday. It is his first time back. We’ve got to be smart with that. You see a lot of these injuries around the league and stuff, and that’s kind of what happens when you don’t go to the totally normal process of an offseason that we did. When you have a guy who’s missed a ton with his injury, that makes it even stronger. So, we’ve got to be smart with him. I know he’ll be out there, but it won’t be as his normal, that’s for sure.”