49ers should welcome back Kerry Hyder with open arms

Kerry Hyder Jr. #51 of the Seattle Seahawks (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Kerry Hyder Jr. #51 of the Seattle Seahawks (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

The 49ers should explore reuniting with one of its best pass-rushers from 2020, Kerry Hyder, whom the Seahawks elected to let go after one year.

The San Francisco 49ers need to reinforce their pass rush this offseason still and not ask Pro Bowl EDGE Nick Bosa to do everything in 2022.

And one simple way to do so would be to find a cheap option in NFL free agency, an old friend in EDGE Kerry Hyder, who was let go by the Seattle Seahawks halfway through the original two-year, $6.5 million deal he signed a year ago after posting a career-best 8.5 sacks with the Niners in 2020.

It isn’t as if the Niners are without need here. Fellow EDGE Dee Ford, who’ll be back in 2022 after restructuring his contract, is dealing with serious back injuries, while depth pass-rushers like Arden Key and Jordan Willis remain free agents and aren’t guaranteed to re-sign.

And while the 2022 NFL Draft is chock full of quality pass-rushers though nearly every round, there’s always the danger of a target going bust.

Even so, San Francisco has always prioritized its defensive line, and it’s never a bad idea to add another pass-rusher at the point when a team thinks it has enough anyway.

49ers can look to capitalize on Kerry Hyder’s success with Kris Kocurek

Good for Hyder for cashing in on the success he enjoyed with the 49ers in 2021, although some may have argued it would have been tough for him to replicate that kind of output anywhere else but with Niners defensive line coach Kris Kocurek.

In 2016, when both were with the Detroit Lions, Hyder set his previous career-high mark of eight sacks in a single season. With Bosa going down in Week 2 of the 2020 season, Hyder became the predominant San Francisco pass-rusher, reaching his career-best mark.

Every other year, however, Hyder has failed to even record two sacks, boasting just 1.5 last year for the Seahawks.

Whatever the reasons, Kocurek appears to bring the most out of Hyder. And soon to be 31 years old, this might be the final opportunity for Hyder to have the kind of year where a quality impact leads to a more lucrative contract down the road.

Kerry Hyder wouldn’t cost 49ers much

Currently, Over the Cap has San Francisco at just above $8 million in salary cap space, and roughly $7 million of that will be reserved for the 2022 draft class.

There are going to be plenty of opportunities to create more cap space, of course, but the reality is the 49ers probably aren’t going to be dishing out any more sizable NFL free agency contracts this offseason.

No, they’ll be looking for cheaper alternatives.

OTC doesn’t have a valuation of his 2021 production, which suggests he’d probably earn the kind of contract received by the Niners in 2020 after he had a relatively similar campaign with the Dallas Cowboys the year prior, a one-year deal worth $1.5 million.

For a supplementary pass-rusher, that’s not expensive at all, and Hyder could help boost the pass rush while providing insurance in case San Francisco isn’t able to retain players like Key and Willis.

Even if Key and/or Willis do come back, adding Hyder would ensure the D-line remains deep and has a good rotation.

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