49ers roster 2023: Matt Pryor a swing tackle or training camp invitee only?

There is an opening for Matt Pryor on the 49ers' 53-man roster, but he'll have to overtake some players gunning for the same swing-tackle role.
Indianapolis Colts offensive lineman Matt Pryor (69)
Indianapolis Colts offensive lineman Matt Pryor (69) / Michael Owens/GettyImages

The 49ers brought Matt Pryor aboard to compete for an offensive line starting job, but it might be tough for him to hang around beyond training camp.

The San Francisco 49ers are once again going with a relatively unknown commodity to replace a relatively well-known veteran on the offensive line.

A year ago, it was Jake Brendel who got the first-team nod over Pro Bowl center Alex Mack when the latter retired. Now, with the 2023 season on the horizon, depth lineman Colton McKivitz is poised to start at right tackle in the wake of now-Denver Broncos lineman Mike McGlinchey departing via NFL free agency.

McKivitz, who was effectively white-gloved the starting job this offseason, still needed someone to push him for that role, which helps explain why the Niners inked former Indianapolis Colts offensive tackle Matt Pryor to a free-agent deal.

Now 28 years old, the 6-foot-7 and 332-pound Pryor got his start as a pro back with the Philadelphia Eagles as their sixth-round NFL Draft pick back in 2019 out of TCU. He spent two seasons there before heading off to Indy, and now he has the reputation of being a spot starter who can fill in at various spots along a team's O-line.

Is that what San Francisco is planning for him, though?

How much are the 49ers paying Matt Pryor?

Pryor signed only a one-year deal worth up to $990,000 last spring, according to Over the Cap. The deal also contains zero in guaranteed money, so the 49ers wouldn't be on the hook for any dead money if he fails to make the 53-man roster.

From that vantage point, it's possible that Pryor was brought in solely to compete with others like McKivitz during training camp and nothing more.

Will Matt Pryor make the 49ers' 53-man roster this season?

Pryor's work is definitely cut out for him.

Right now, it appears as if Jaylon Moore is the Niners' top candidate for the vital swing-tackle role behind McKivitz and All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams. And while Moore suffered a minor injury during training camp, the expectation is that he'll be back in a week or so.

In the interim, Pryor should be making the most of his chances.

He isn't alone in competition, though. In addition to Moore, San Francisco is looking at other depth linemen like Jason Poe, Joey Fisher, Keith Ismael, Leroy Watson and Nick Zakelj, among others. And another veteran, Jon Feliciano, is likely more important to the depth than Pryor would be.

Read more: 49ers mid-training camp 53-man roster predictions

Pryor might not have to beat out Feliciano, who has guaranteed money in his contract. But the former would likely have to beat out the remaining names to stand a chance.

It's feasible, yes. Especially if Moore suffers some sort of injury setback.

But it doesn't seem quite likely, meaning Pryor is certainly in danger of failing to make the 53-man roster this season.

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