The 49ers parted ways with one of their special teams aces from last season, trading Colin Jones to the Carolina Panthers for a seventh-round pick, according to a league source. It's not know whether the pick is in 2013 or later. News of the trade was first reported by Scout.com.
The speedy Jones, 24, was a sixth-round pick out of TCU in 2011. And while he received scant playing time at safety as a rookie, he became a big part of the 49ers' coverage units. He finished the season with eight tackles, and seven so-called "big plays" as determined by special teams coordinator Brad Seely and his assistants.
Jones began the 2011 season on the 49ers' practice squad. When the Panthers showed interest in signing him, the 49ers elevated Jones to the active roster before Week 5.
The 49ers promise to keep several special teams aces on the roster, including safety C.J. Spillman and linebacker Tavares Gooden. Anthony Dixon, another solid special teams player, also figures to make the squad.
Running back Rock Cartwright, however, did not make the final cut. The 49ers waived the 11-year player, a special teams standout for the Raiders the last two years, at around noon. The 49ers signed Cartwright, 32, in March with the thought that he could lead the special teams coverage units the way Blake Costanzo did in 2011.
Dixon played well during the preseason, and at age 24 was a younger and cheaper alternative to Cartwright.
"Wanna thank the 49ers for the opportunity..," Cartwright tweeted at 12:30 p.m. today
-- Matt Barrows