NFL free agency: SF 49ers must re-sign Kerry Hyder in 2021

San Francisco 49ers defensive end Kerry Hyder (92) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers defensive end Kerry Hyder (92) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

The SF 49ers have received career-best production from veteran EDGE Kerry Hyder, who must be a re-sign target in NFL free agency.

Under most circumstances, it’s risky for teams like the SF 49ers to offer good money to a player coming off a career year when most of his seasons leading up to that career year have been so-so at best.

But in the case of EDGE Kerry Hyder, it would be wise for the Niners to retain the pending 2021 free agent.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way, but Hyder finds himself San Francisco’s leading sack artist this season, currently boasting a career-high 8.5 quarterback takedowns that bested his previous best set back with the Detroit Lions in 2016 when he had eight.

Kerry Hyder Defense & Fumbles Table
3 yr3 yrDET24210109.04228141221
1 yr1 yrDAL1600101.01710734
1 yr1 yrNYJ00.0
1 yr1 yrSFO151301148.54830181018

Provided by
Generated 12/27/2020.

The 29-year-old journeyman pass-rusher has benefited from the reunification with his former defensive line coach in Detroit, Kris Kocurek, who helped Hyder reach eight sacks in 2016. And despite Hyder being on the 53-man roster bubble at the conclusion of training camp, it’s safe to say San Francisco has gotten its money’s worth from his production this season amid so many losses to its defensive front.

Hyder is neither flashy nor speedy. But he’s versatile. And the numbers in a more-featured role suggest he can be productive, too.

Yet that’s not the sole reason why the SF 49ers should bring him back.

SF 49ers have pass-rushing needs in 2021 anyway

The Niners’ top pass-rusher is EDGE Nick Bosa, obviously, who missed all but two games in 2020 after suffering a season-ending ACL tear way back in Week 2.

Yet there are more question marks in the pass-rush department after Bosa on the depth chart. Fellow EDGE Dee Ford has been sidelined since Week 1 with neck and back injuries, and there’s a good chance San Francisco tries to move on from the expensive defender this offseason if possible.

Either way, Ford’s long-term reliability and availability has to be called into question.

Likewise, the SF 49ers probably move on from depth defensive end Ronald Blair, who missed all of 2020 with an ACL tear suffered late last season. Blair, an unrestricted free agent, essentially saw his role on the Niners defensive line occupied by Hyder, and the results have been more than solid in the latter’s favor.

Even with Bosa’s pending return in 2021, San Francisco is going to have a shortage of supplementary pass-rushers on the depth chart. Making things more complicated, the 2021 NFL Draft isn’t particularly deep with outside pass-rushers, putting more of an emphasis on the need to re-sign a player like Hyder.

Plus, Hyder should want to return.

He’ll understand just how good the SF 49ers defense, fifth best in yards allowed, was this season despite the swarm of injuries. Additionally, there’s the success he’s had with Kocurek that hasn’t exactly replicated itself elsewhere.

Next. 5 role players 49ers must re-sign in 2021. dark

While Hyder might not be the Niners’ top re-sign priority this offseason, he should at least be relatively high on the radar.

And hopefully at a relatively decent asking price.