49ers cut former Pro-Bowl center months after trading sixth-round pick to acquire him

General manager John Lynch said you can never have enough good offensive lineman in March, when the 49ers traded a sixth-round pick for Jeremy Zuttah.

On Wednesday, Zuttah — who’s played center most of his career — was cut by the Niners.

(Fortunately for the team, the decision won’t cost them anything.)

Head coach Kyle Shanahan said after practice that Zuttah’s release was more of a compliment to starting center Daniel Kilgore than anything else.

“It just looked to us that we weren’t going to give Zuttah a lot of playing time throughout the preseason,” the first-year head coach said. “He’s a guy I have a lot of respect for. He’s done a lot of good things in this league. I told him this morning, I had a hard time doing that to him. We wanted to give him a chance to go somewhere else instead of keeping him here and making him go through that.”

When the 49ers added Zuttah, many wondered if he would get some reps at guard — foreseeing the emergence of Kilgore.

But there are still some questions for the 49ers at that position, leading to the reasonable assumption that Zuttah wasn’t looking to play off the center position.

Joshua Garnett is injured and “is going to be out for a little bit” as he gets his knee cleaned out today, according to Shanahan. So, Kilgore has played a few snaps at guard, as well as converted center Tim Barnes.

“You have to move guys around, so that’s something that we did yesterday and we’ll continue to do throughout camp,” Shanahan said.

The 49ers play their first preseason game on Friday at Kansas City.

Shanahan expects to play his starters for the first quarter only — assuming everything goes to plan.

He also said that these games are somewhat of a coaching nightmare.

“You never want to go out and look bad and get embarrassed,” he said. “But, I also am very well aware that any play that works in the preseason will not work in the regular season. So, you don’t want to waste anything either.”

jpalmer@sfexaminer.com

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