The San Francisco 49ers took an ax to their roster today in an effort to get down to 53 players by the August 31 deadline. Among the more surprising moves was a decision they made deep on the depth chart at running back.
According to @49ers Sports Talk — and confirmed by other Niners reporters, such as Grant Cohn of Sports Illustrated’s All 49ers — San Francisco decided to release former New York Giants running back Wayne Gallman.
“The 49ers have released RB Wayne Gallman,” the outlet tweeted at 3:15 pm on Tuesday, August 31.
The Niners signed Gallman to a one-year deal back in April.
Hasty Won Job Over Gallman During Recent Preseason Games
In place of Gallman on the roster will be running back JaMycal Hasty.
Matt Barrows, 49ers reporter for The Athletic, broke the news on Tuesday afternoon via Twitter that Hasty had survived the last cut and made the team’s initial 53-man roster.
“Am told RB JaMycal Hasty made the #49ers’ initial 53-man roster. He had strong games against the Chargers and Raiders to end the summer session,” Barrows tweeted.
Hasty rushed the ball 13 times for 55 yards and two touchdowns in the Niners 34-10 win against the Raiders on Sunday, August 29. One score was a three-yard goal line plunge, while the other was a 35-yard touchdown scamper, as Hasty highlighted his range as a running back.
The soon-to-be 25-year-old out of Baylor played in eight games for San Francisco last year, rushing the ball 39 times for 148 yards and 1 touchdown. He also caught 7 passes for 33 yards, according to Pro Football Reference.
Raheem Mostert is the top running back in the Bay Area. Jeff Wilson Jr., if healthy, was projected to be No. 2. However, he will miss the first several weeks of the season with a knee injury suffered during voluntary workouts earlier this summer. Where he will slot when he returns is an open question, though Wilson did lead the Niners in rushing yards last season by the time everything was said and done.
Rookie Trey Sermon, drafted this year out of Ohio State, has moved into the second position on the depth chart behind Mostert. It was thought by fantasy experts at Roto Baller as recently as Tuesday, when the cut was announced, that Gallman would receive carries ahead of Hasty.
Others who cover the team, like David Lombardi of The Athletic, also admitted misjudging the running back battle between Hasty and Gallman.
“I was wrong about this one; Wayne Gallman seemed to be the betting favorite, but Hasty’s electric rushing performances earned him the nod,” Lombardi tweeted Tuesday. “Hasty also seems to have built a sturdier frame since his rookie year, which is big.”
Elijah Mitchell, a sixth-round pick by the Niners in 2021 out of the University of Louisiana Lafayette, also remains a member of the team and will occupy the fourth spot on the RB depth chart.
Gallman Could Still Have a Future With Niners
Just because Hasty made the initial 53-man roster does not mean he will make the final 53-man roster before the Niners take the field September 12 for their first regular season game against the Detroit Lions.
And just because Gallman got the ax on Tuesday doesn’t mean he’s necessarily out in San Francisco.
“The 49ers, in all likelihood, cut Gallman. But if they can bring him back to either the practice squad or the active roster early in the season, I would not be surprised,” Lombardi tweeted. “RB depth is a constant, fluid need.”
The former New York Giant filled in for Saquon Barkley last season, after the Giants star running back was sidelined due to an ACL tear he suffered in his right knee during a Week 2 matchup against the Chicago Bears.
The 26-year-old Gallman is a four-year veteran of the NFL. He posted the best campaign of his career in 2020, rushing for 682 yards on 4.6 yards per carry. He also found the end zone on six occasions.
As important as overall production is how often a running back actually finds himself on the field to produce. Gallman appeared in 15 games last season, starting 10 of them, displaying a level of durability coveted by the 49ers after a season defined by injuries to Mostert and Wilson.