The 49ers have added a former first-round pick to their practice squad. The team announced that they’ve signed veteran cornerback Darqueze Dennard to the taxi squad. The team also added veteran running back Brian Hill and released punter Colby Wadman.
Dennard was a first-round pick by the Bengals back in 2014. While he ended up spending six seasons in Cincinnati, he only started 24 of his 77 games. He caught on with the Falcons in 2020, finishing with 36 tackles in eight games (six starts). He’s had stints with the Cardinals, Colts, and Giants in 2021, with his only playing time coming in Week 16 with New York. 49ers defensive backs Jimmie Ward and Dontae Johnson recently landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, so there’s a chance Dennard sees some playing time during San Francisco’s regular season finale.
Hill had a career-high 664 yards from scrimmage with the Falcons in 2020, but he’s been unable to hold a gig in 2021. The 26-year-old has spent time with the Titans, Browns, and 49ers, but he didn’t take the field for any of those squads. RB Raheem Mostert was recently placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, putting his availability for Sunday in doubt.
Waldman joined the 49ers in late December. Regular punter Mitch Wishnowsky has since cleared reserve/COVID-19 lists, leading to Waldman’s release.
There will not be a punting competition in Denver. A month after agreeing to terms with Sam Martin, the Broncos are waiving incumbent Colby Wadman and former Texans punter Trevor Daniel, Mike Klis of 9News tweets.
The Broncos promoted Wadman from their practice squad in October 2018, after their Marquette King signing did not work out to their liking. Wadman, however, largely struggled after taking the job.
Despite the advantages of kicking in Denver’s thin air, Wadman averaged 44.4 yards per punt last season — 26th in the league. The former UDFA did, however, rank ninth in punts inside the 20-yard line (29). The Broncos signed Martin, a longtime Lions punter, to take over in March.
Denver added Daniel via reserve/futures deal after the season but will move on with just Martin at punter. Daniel punted in 18 games for the Texans from 2018-19, but Houston opted to go with Bryan Anger over him early last season.
It sounds like Marquette King‘s tenure in Denver has come to an end. Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post reports (via Twitter) that the punter will be placed on the injured reserve. Mike Klis of 9News in Denver tweets that the organization plans to release the punter when he’s healthy in a couple of weeks. Punter Colby Wadman has been promoted from the practice squad to take the open roster spot.
The well-known punter was suddenly released by the Raiders back in April, with reports indicating that head coach JonGruden wasn’t a fan of King’s outspoken personality. The 29-year-old received interest from the Vikings and Giants, but he ended up inking a three-year deal with the Broncos later that month. The deal was worth $2MM, and King could have made up to $7MM had he hit incentives.
King’s 20 punts have traveled an average of 44.1 yards this season, which ranks 22nd in the NFL. However, he has managed to place seven punts inside the 20-yard line, placing him just outside of the top-10. The punter apparently suffered a right thigh injury during Monday’s game against the Chiefs, and he was later listed as doubtful for this weekend’s contest. After Monday’s game, VanceJoseph called out King for his lackluster performance (via Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com), and the head coach didn’t attribute the ineffectiveness to the injury. King finished that game with three punts for 123 yards (41.0-yard average), including one 51-yarder and one punt placed inside the 20.
The 2012 undrafted free agent out of Fort Valley State led all punters in Pro Bowl fan voting last year. He was the NFL’s punting yards leader in 2014, and he earned a second-team All-Pro nod in 2016. Last year, King’s 47.4 yards per punt average was good for sixth in the NFL, and his net average of 42.7 yards was third.
Wadman, a 2017 undrafted free agent out of UC Davis, spent some time with the Raiders before joining the Broncos practice squad in September. During his final collegiate season in 2017, Wadman averaged 43.2 yards per punt.