The 49ers have released defensive end Demarcus Dobbs, according to his agent, Andy Simms, opening a spot on the 53-man roster.
The spot could be used for Aldon Smith if the NFL reduces the linebacker’s nine-game suspension, which has one game remaining. But with no announcement Tuesday, it seems unlikely Smith will return for Sunday’s game at New Orleans. He is eligible for next week’s road game against the New York Giants.
Dobbs was inactive Sunday for the first time this year, which seemed to forecast Tuesday’s move.
The transaction opens the door for young defensive linemen Quinton Dial and Tank Carradine to play more.
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Dial played six defensive snaps in Sunday’s loss to the Rams. Carradine hasn’t had significant playing time despite being a high draft pick – No.40 overall – in the 2013 draft and despite playing well in the preseason. Carradine was in uniform in Week 2 against Chicago but did not play any snaps on defense. He’s been inactive in the seven other games.
Dobbs went undrafted out of Georgia in 2011. He had been Justin Smith’s primary backup at right defensive end and he also had been part of the team’s coverage and return units on special teams. He had played well behind Smith this year, but the team simply has more invested in Dial and Carradine.
Dobbs signed a one-year restricted free-agent tender of $1.4 million in the offseason.
Nose tackle Glenn Dorsey also will be added to the roster in coming weeks. The 49ers, who play a 3-4 defense, have a deep defensive line even though the nose tackle comes off the field in nickel situations. Dorsey said last week that he and the team’s other nose tackle, Ian Williams, will be expected to play all three positions on the defensive line.
The 49ers added cornerback Chance Casey to their practice squad Tuesday. Casey went undrafted out of Baylor last year and spent time on the Raiders’ practice squad. The 49ers created an opening on their practice squad Saturday when they elevated cornerback Leon McFadden to the active roster.
Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.