Who will stay, who will go? 49ers' five most intriguing free-agency decisions
Ray-Ray Armstrong, who started five games at linebacker for the 49ers this season, was waived Friday so the 49ers can activate defensive end Tank Carradine from injured reserve.
Armstrong signed a two-year contract extension late last year and served as the team’s starter at weak-side linebacker this season after rookie Reuben Foster went down with an ankle injury in Week 1. But he lost the role in recent weeks as Foster’s health improved and Brock Coyle proved he was the more reliable tackler.
Armstrong and Foster also were involved in an alleged robbery attempt outside of a downtown San Francisco club in which the linebackers were stopped at gunpoint. The pair fled on foot and were unharmed in the incident, which occurred last month.
“We had five linebackers, which is one too many,” Kyle Shanahan said Friday of the move. “So it’s a decision we had to make.”
Foster and Coyle will start Sunday’s game against the Seahawks. Their backups will be seldom-used Mark Nzeocha at middle linebacker and Elijah Lee at weak-side linebacker.
“I just like that they’ve worked every day,” Shanahan said when asked about Lee and Nzeocha. “… These guys have gotten better each week. They’ve helped us on special teams, they’ve improved at linebacker. When you don’t waste a scout-team rep, when you don’t waste a meeting, when you stay after to have extra meetings with some of the quality control coaches and things like that, they’ve really grinded to give themselves a chance.”
Carradine, meanwhile, suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 2 and was placed on injured reserve. Teams are allowed to bring back two players from injured reserve during the season.
The 49ers now have done so with Ronald Blair and Carradine.
Brown injured – Right tackle Trent Brown injured his shoulder during the 49ers’ Thursday practice and is listed as questionable on the team’s injury report. He did not take part in Friday’s practice and Shanahan said Brown would be a game-time decision on Sunday.
If he cannot play, one of two undrafted rookies – Erik Magnuson or Darrell Williams Jr. – would start in his place.
Et cetera – Safety Adrian Colbert (thumb) is out for Sunday’s game. Antone Exum, Dexter McCoil and Leon Hall are all candidates to start at free safety.
▪ Running back Raheem Mostert (shoulder), receiver Trent Taylor (ribs) and defensive end Solomon Thomas (knee) are listed as questionable. Shanahan said Thomas began the week slowly but had his best practice on Friday.
▪ For the Seahawks, safety Kam Chancellor (thumb), guard Oday Aboushi (shoulder) and cornerback Shaquill Griffin (concussion) are out for Sunday. Running back Mike Davis (groin) is doubtful.