49ers release former first-round pick Nkemdiche, reach 85-man limit


Less than a month after the 49ers signed defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche to a one-year contract, the team announced the former first-round draft pick’s release on Tuesday.

The 49ers were Nkemdiche’s fourth team in the last five years after being selected 29th overall by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Last season saw him play in nine games for the Seattle Seahawks, where he logged one tackle against the 49ers in Week 4. Before that, he spent time with the Miami Dolphins in 2019 after suffering a season-ending ACL tear in December 2018. He didn't play a snap in 2020.

The Nkemdiche signing, announced by the 49ers July 26, was meant to provide San Francisco with interior depth behind Arik Armstead and Javon Kinlaw.

During the 49ers' 28-21 preseason victory over the Green Bay Packers on Friday, Nkemdiche made highlight reels after charging untouched through the backfield to take down running back Tyler Goodson for a five-yard loss.

It was always a tough task to crack the 49ers' final roster with their already-stacked defensive line, and now the 27-year-old will have an opportunity to join another team as a free agent before the season begins.

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Nkemdiche joins veteran cornerback Darqueze Dennard, fullback Josh Hokit, wide receiver KeeSean Johnson and defensive lineman Tomasi Laulile as players cut by the 49ers in an effort to trim their roster down to the NFL-mandated 85-player limit by Tuesday's deadline.

Now that the first round of cuts has passed, the 49ers will be required to cut the roster down to 80 players by Aug. 23. The final 53-man roster deadline is Aug. 30.

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