1:54pm: The 49ers have officially re-signed Smith and placed linebacker Patrick Willis on IR, the team announced in a press release. We learned earlier today that Willis’ toe injury would sideline him for the rest of the season.
8:49am: After carrying just two running backs on their active roster for most of the season, the 49ers are re-signing a third back, Alfonso Smith, according to his representatives at HOF Player Representatives (Twitter link). Smith will join veteran Frank Gore and rookie Carlos Hyde in the team’s backfield.
Smith, 27, spent his first four seasons in the NFL with the division-rival Cardinals, working as a backup. For his career, Smith has 48 carries for 156 yards and two touchdowns. In 2013, he played on nearly 50% of Arizona’s special teams snaps, and he’ll likely be asked to contribute in that capacity in San Francisco, assuming he’s active on game days. Smith also spent some time this preseason with the 49ers, but was cut at the end of August when the club reduced its roster from 75 players to 53.
Running back depth appeared to be one of the Niners’ strengths heading into the summer, but since then, LaMichael James has been cut, Kendall Hunter suffered a torn ACL, and Marcus Lattimore retired due to knee issues. In addition to signing Smith, San Francisco is also expected to activate linebacker Aldon Smith, who has finished serving his nine-game suspension, so we should expect to see a pair of cuts from the team within the next few days.