The 49ers on Sunday claimed former Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Xavier Cooper off waivers. Cooper was the 49ers’ only waiver claim on the day after NFL teams were required to trim their rosters to 53 players.
The 49ers created the roster space for Cooper by briefly releasing tight end Logan Paulsen in a move that is considered "procedural." The 49ers immediately re-signed Paulsen with defensive lineman Ronald Blair going on injured reserve. Blair was held out of the 49ers’ final exhibition game due to a thumb injury. Blair is a candidate to return to the 49ers' 53-man roster later in the season from "short-term" injured reserve.
Cooper, 25, is 6 foot 4, 300 pounds. He was a third-round pick of the Browns in 2015. He recorded 39 tackles and 1 ½ sacks during his two seasons with the Browns after being selected in the third round of the 2015 draft. The 49ers pick up the remaining two years and $2.9 million of his contract.
The 49ers on Saturday released defensive tackle Quinton Dial, whom the club did not believe was a good fit for defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s 3-4 scheme. Cooper joins a group of defensive linemen that includes Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner, Solomon Thomas, Tank Carradine, Earl Mitchell and D.J. Jones.
The 49ers had only one of their former players claimed off waivers. The Minnesota Vikings were awarded tight end Blake Bell, a fourth-round pick of the 49ers in 2015. The 49ers kept three tight ends: Logan Paulsen, Garrett Celek and rookie George Kittle. The 49ers had hoped to re-sign Bell to their practice squad.
Cornerbacks Will Redmond and Prince Charles Iworah, who were waived/injured on Friday, cleared waivers and revert to the 49ers' injured reserve list.
The 49ers open the season with 13 players on injured reserve: Blair, Redmond, Iworah, guard Joshua Garnett, linebacker Malcolm Smith, running back Joe Williams, receiver Aaron Burbridge, defensive lineman Chris Jones, safety Don Jones, linebacker Jimmie Gilbert, safety Chanceller James, reeiver B.J. Johnson and linebacker Donavin Newsome.
The 49ers announced eight additions to their practice squad:
WR DeAndre Carter
OL John Flynn
TE Cole Hikutini
CB Asa Jackson
QB Nick Mullens
DL Noble Nwachukwu
WR DeAndre Smelter
OL Darrell Williams Jr.
In addition, the 49ers agreed to terms with running back Jeremy McNichols (Boise State) to the practice squad, reports the NFL Network. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers cut McNichols on Saturday. McNichols gained 79 yards on 24 carries for Tampa Bay during the exhibition season. He was drafted in the fifth round (No. 162 overall).