A week after trading for wide receiver Jeremy Kerley, the 49ers landed another veteran receiver, Rod Streater, from the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday. The 49ers also traded safety L.J. McCray to the NFC West rival Seattle Seahawks and released linebacker Marcus Rush, a preseason standout.
Coach Chip Kelly said Kerley was acquired to replace slot receiver Bruce Ellington, who suffered a season-ending torn hamstring Aug. 26 in a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. The tall, long-legged Streater was needed because similarly sized Eric Rogers suffered a season-ending torn ACL early in training camp.
“We felt it was a big blow to us when we lost Eric in the preseason,” Kelly said. “So to get another outside receiver to complement Torrey Smith and Quinton Patton was a maneuver we had to make.”
Streater, 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, began his NFL career with the Raiders as an undrafted free agent in 2012. He has 109 career receptions for 1,564 yards and eight touchdowns. Streater signed as a free agent with the Chiefs in March.
Saturday’s trades were for conditional draft picks and are contingent on Streater and McCray passing physicals.
The 49ers waived/injured another receiver, DeAndre Smelter, after he struggled with hamstring issues throughout the offseason. They also waived receivers Dres Anderson, Devon Cajuste, Ryan Whalen and DeAndrew White, who spent time on the active roster last year. As of now, the team’s receivers are Smith, Patton, Kerley, sixth-round draft pick Aaron Burbridge and Streater. Kerley, acquired from the Detroit Lions, also could handle punt returns.
The 49ers trimmed their roster to 53 players Saturday. Among the moves:
▪ Preseason stars Rush and Garrison Smith, a nose tackle, were waived. Rush led all 49ers defenders in the preseason with six sacks and had an interception Thursday against the San Diego Chargers. Rush and Smith were on the practice squad a year ago and could return there Sunday. The 49ers also cut outside linebacker Corey Lemonier, a third-round pick in 2013.
▪ The team released running backs DuJuan Harris and Kelvin Taylor, a sixth-round choice this year and the son of former Jacksonville Jaguars tailback Fred Taylor. That leaves Shaun Draughn and Mike Davis as the only backups behind Carlos Hyde, who remains in the league’s concussion program after a big hit Aug. 26. Taylor could join the practice squad Sunday.
▪ The 49ers waived offensive lineman Fahn Cooper, a fifth-round pick this year and their highest draft choice to be cut. Cornerback Prince Charles Iworah, a seventh-round selection this year, also was released. No undrafted rookies made the initial 53-man squad.
McCray joined the 49ers as an undrafted free agent in 2014 and became the team’s top gunner in 2015. But he was recovering from a knee injury this year, which allowed Marcus Cromartie more snaps at safety and on special teams. Trades inside the division – especially to a rival like Seattle – are rare, but Kelly said the 49ers thought McCray would get claimed by another team anyway.
“Seattle really wanted him, so it was an opportunity for us to pick up a draft pick that could potentially turn into another player for us instead of outright releasing him,” he said.
The 49ers kept seven cornerbacks and four safeties. Kelly noted that two of the cornerbacks, Jimmie Ward and Dontae Johnson, could play safety in a pinch.