SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers signed one ex-Saints running back today, Travaris Cadet, and waived another, Pierre Thomas, who was signed Tuesday. Cadet worked out for the team Monday.
Thomas, 30, played four snaps Sunday against Atlanta and carried the ball four times for 12 yards. Another newcomer, Shaun Draughn, edged out Thomas for the starting job while Kendall Gaskins filled the role of short-yardage back.
The 49ers have experienced massive turnover at the running back spot in recent weeks. Carlos Hyde suffered a stress fracture and hasn't played since Oct. 22. Reggie Bush tore his MCL in St. Louis and is out for the year. Mike Davis broke his hand in the same game and is on injured reserve with a designation to return.
Cadet, 26, has returned two punts in his three-year career with the Saints to go along with 50 kick returns. He has a 25.9-yard average as a kick returner and his youth and special teams ability perhaps make him a better fit than Thomas. And whereas Thomas hadn’t played in a game since December, Draughn was with the Browns until three weeks ago while Cadet was cut by the Patriots Sept. 29.
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Cadet spent the offseason with New England and there had been chatter that the Patriots would re-sign him.