With six players due back, 49ers must create roster spaces

Matt and Mindi: 49ers expect stronger roster at end of season

With six players due back, 49ers must create roster spaces
October 26, 2013, 5:30 pm
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Nnamdi Asomugha has been inactive for the past four games and does not figure to have a future with the 49ers. (AP IMAGES)

Editor’s note: Read Insider Matt Maiocco’s reports from the U.K. all week long as the 49ers gear up for their Week 8 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in London

LONDON – The 49ers plan to activate wide receiver Mario Manningham, cornerback Eric Wright and defensive lineman Tank Carradine prior to Nov. 4, general manager Trent Baalke said.

Manningham, Wright and Carradine have practiced for two weeks but will not be in uniform for the 49ers’ game Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium.

[RELATED: 49ers plan roster moves before Nov. 10 game]

However, the 49ers will create roster spots to accommodate each of those players on the 53-man roster prior to the team’s Nov. 10 game against the Carolina Panthers, Baalke said.

Linebacker Nick Moody, outside linebacker Aldon Smith and wide receiver Michael Crabtree are also candidates to be activated to the 49ers’ 53-man roster before the end of the season. Smith must show "progress" after spending time in treatment for substance abuse to be reinstated to the roster, Baalke said.

In all, the 49ers might have to open six more roster spots to provide openings for players coming off reserve lists.

“There are a lot of things that are going to go into these decisions that are made as to how this roster’s constructed over the next several weeks with these guys coming back and who is going to be bumped?” Baalke said.

One veteran who appears especially vulnerable with Wright’ impending acquisition is Nnamdi Asomugha, who lost his job as the No. 3 cornerback and has not been suiting up for games.

When asked if he has spoken to Asomugha about his status, Baalke said, “There’s no reason to. Those guys are all fighting for positions.”

Based on recent roster moves, the depth chart and recent inactive lists, here are the players who are fighting for roster spots when the 49ers begin activating players.

CB Nnamdi Asomugha: He has been inactive for the past four games. He is 32, and does not figure to have a future with the 49ers beyond this season. Asomugha does not have special-teams value. With Wright coming back, Asomugha will fall deeper down the depth chart.

WR Marlon Moore: After opening the season as the 49ers’ No. 3 wide receiver, he has twice been inactive in the past four weeks. With Manningham and Crabtree coming back, Moore’s spot appears in jeopardy.

WR Quinton Patton: He sustained a fractured right foot on Sept. 26 against the St. Louis Rams. He is a candidate to finish the season on injured reserve.

OLB Jermaine Cunningham: He has been inactive for all three games since the 49ers signed him on Oct. 1.

QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson: The 49ers could go with two quarterbacks – Colin Kaepernick and Colt McCoy – and see if they can bring Bethel-Thompson back to the practice squad.

DT Demarcus Dobbs: The 49ers activated Quinton Dial last week. Carradine is not far behind. Tony Jerod-Eddie has the edge over Dobbs because of his ability to play nose tackle.

LB Nate Stupar: He has done a good job on special teams, but he is the final inside linebacker on the roster, and Moody could take his role on special teams. Stupar was inactive for the first three games of the season.

The 49ers’ special teams have played very well as of late, so it seems as if the 49ers would not want to mess with those units, which involve Darryl Morris, Kassim Osgood and Bubba Ventrone.

Running back LaMichael James and guard Joe Looney have been healthy scratches in recent weeks, but the 49ers are not going to get rid of either of those second-year players.