49ers roster 2023: Alex Barrett has his niche role... and that's about it

San Francisco 49ers defensive end Alex Barrett (58)
San Francisco 49ers defensive end Alex Barrett (58) / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

The 49ers seemingly like Alex Barrett as an emergency reserve they can call up off the practice squad if needed.

Are the San Francisco 49ers going to play backup defensive end Alex Barrett a lot this upcoming 2023 season?

Probably not. In fact, he might spend the entire year on the practice squad.

Barrett, 29 years old, might still have found something of a niche role with the Niners despite being so seldomly used during regular-season games. Having signed with the team's practice squad back in November of 2019, the 6-foot-2 and 250-pound defensive end out of San Diego State has somehow managed to find a way to hang around San Francisco ever since in one form or another.

Even if he's only managed to get into a handful of regular-season games here and there, all of which took place during the 49ers' injury-plagued 2020 season.

Who is Alex Barrett, and what has he done with the 49ers?

Barrett originally joined the Detroit Lions as an undrafted free agent back in 2017, and working with then-Lions defensive line coach Kris Kocurek certainly influenced the Niners' decision to onboard the defender once Kocurek came over to the Bay Area.

That said, Barrett has predominantly been a regular depth-chart filler during training camp and someone who'd make frequent appearances during preseason games before dropping back onto the practice squad for the regular season.

Barrett also spent part of the 2019 offseason with the Oakland Raiders and briefly played with the San Diego Fleet of the ow-defunct Alliance of American Football.

In 2020, Barrett appeared in seven regular-season games for San Francisco, registering five tackles and two quarterback hits.

He hasn't seen a regular-season tilt since.

How much are the 49ers paying Alex Barrett in 2023?

According to Over the Cap, Barrett will earn up to $870,000 this season on a one-year deal with the 49ers.

There is no guaranteed money, however, which means the Niners can simply part ways with Barrett without any sort of financial implications beyond what was already paid to him.

Will Alex Barrett make 49ers' 53-man roster in 2023?

It's possible Alex Barrett has slightly better odds at making San Francisco's 53-man roster this year in the wake of two defensive ends, Samson Ebukam and Charles Omenihu, departing via NFL free agency.

That said, the 49ers onboarded two other veterans in Clelin Ferrell and Austin Bryant, who essentially take Ebukam and Omenihu's places, and the Niners also used a fifth-round NFL Draft pick on former Georgia defensive end Robert Neal Jr.

Any one of those three players could essentially oust Barrett from surviving roster cuts.

Read more: 49ers 2023 schedule is out, and we predicted every game right here

That said, San Francisco seems to like having Barrett around on the practice squad and on the scout team. Should the 49ers deal with another serious rash of injuries to its defensive line again this year, Barrett would likely be one of the first called up to help reinforce a beleaguered unit.

Ideally for the Niners, though, they wouldn't need him.

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