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The Stunning Cut: CB Darqueze Dennard

Image Credit: (Sam Stezo/USA Today Sports)

Written by: Nicholas Mullick Linkedin:

Twitter: @nicholasmullick

Welcome to another article in my writing series that I call The Stunning Cut. This is a series where I look at cuts in the preseason or in the regular season that stunned many when the news was released. For the next few articles they will be more recent as teams start to shorten their rosters and cuts can absolutely surprise many. For this one I have decided to go for a recent move that absolutely stunned me when hearing that the 49ers cut CB Darqueze Dennard. I decided to do a bit of a deeper dive when it comes to the 49ers cutting him.

Who is Darqueze Dennard?

Darqueze Dennard is a football player who played at the cornerback position. Coming into the NCAA he was a 3 star prospect and was given an athletic scholarship with Michigan State University. He was a strong part of Michigan State’s defense at the time and was building himself to be a 1st/2nd round prospect in the NFL Draft. For Dennard, he came into the NFL as a former 1st round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft and was selected 24th overall by the Cincinnati Bengals. Dennard showed flashes throughout his career and was getting better and better each year, but he can barely stay healthy. He constantly had an ankle, hamstring, shoulder, or groin injury. They tried to keep hope that he would pan out as when healthy he was productive, but that did not come to be and the Bengals chose not to extend his contract.

Once he left the Bengals, Dennard signed a 1 year contract with the Atlanta Falcons and was solid when on the field. Unfortunately a hamstring injury would take him out for a majority of his time in Atlanta. He did come back later in that season, but he did not impress. In 2021 he would get another shot signing with the Arizona Cardinals he was barely healthy and the team released him at the end of the preseason. He spent a month with the Indianapolis Colts, but mainly on their practice squad. He spent time with the New York Giants, but did not last an entire week with the team. So his next stop was with the San Francisco 49ers who needed cornerback help and with Dennard’s experience he was thought of being a part of the 49ers during the season. Well that unfortunately was not going to happen.

The Day He Got Cut

It was during the deadline where teams had to shorten their roster from 90 players to 85 players. So a majority of these cuts were going to unsurprising names that were either not really utilized currently, or were not going to be a part of the team long term. However, when doing my research on every name that was revealed, the one that shocked me the most was reading Dennard’s name on the cut list. It was a stunner because the 49ers needed cornerback help and he was brought in to be a veteran piece to this team. I would not even think he would not make it past the 1st round of cuts. Especially when he even had reps with the 1st team defense during training camp and multiple practices leading up to the preseason. Apparently the reason that the 49ers had was that they were very high on rookie 5th rounder Samuel Wormack and releasing Dennard would give Wormack more snaps in their upcoming preseason matchups against the Minnesota Vikings and Houston Texans. Which honestly is not a bad idea as Wormack could be something and Dennard was not getting any younger anytime soon. So I understand this move, but my question is, Why were they giving Dennard 1st team reps then? That is what made it more stunning for me and it was a recent snap as well.

The Aftermath of Getting Cut

It has been a few days since Dennard got cut from the 49ers and so far he has not been signed by another team. It is kind of surprising to me as Dennard could be valuable as a veteran piece on any defense. Do I think this could be the end of Dennard’s career? I am not so sure, as I could see Dennard as a candidate for the XFL or USFL. He is an experienced cornerback and that can be attractable with some teams whether it is in the NFL or via other leagues. I wish nothing, but the best for Dennard and I hope he can be on another active roster or practice squad sometime soon.

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