The San Francisco 49ers made a couple of supplementary NFL free agency signings on Monday, grabbing linebacker Joe Walker and defensive tackle Kerry Hyder, per reports.
It’s not likely the San Francisco 49ers will make any more big-name signings in NFL free agency after retaining two of their own, defensive end Arik Armstead and safety Jimmie Ward. There simply isn’t enough cap space, currently, for the Niners to spend frivolously.
On Monday, however, San Francisco made a couple of low-profile free-agent additions to reinforce the back end of the roster and provide some depth heading towards offseason programs.
Walker spent the last two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals primarily as a backup and special teams contributor. Yet he worked his way into the defensive equation for Arizona last season and ended up starting 11 games, picking up 65 tackles and even forcing a fumble in the process.
With Fred Warner, Dre Greenlaw and Kwon Alexander already in place, the Niners don’t need Walker to be anything more than just depth at this point. But adding some additional special teams depth is rarely a bad idea.
Hyder, 28 years old, flourished under then-Detroit Lions defensive line coach Kris Kocurek back when both were in Detroit in 2016. Hyder managed an impressive eight sacks that season, and it’s likely the 49ers want to bring him aboard as a supplemental pass-rusher to back up edge rushers Dee Ford and Nick Bosa.
Plus, Hyder is also pretty versatile and can play a multitude of positions along the defensive line. After losing defensive tackle DeForest Buckner in the trade to the Indianapolis Colts, the Niners have a number of questions about replacing the sheer number of snaps Buckner took. A rotation is likely in order, yet there’s going to be some room for depth pieces.
This is likely where Hyder comes into play, both as an interior rusher and someone who can take snaps off the edge, too.
One should expect a handful of other deals like this for San Francisco in coming weeks, particularly if the team doesn’t execute some cap cuts with other players currently on the roster.