Kerry Hyder had a career-best year for the 49ers in 2020, but he was notably quiet after he returned to San Francisco in 2022.
Veteran defensive end Kerry Hyder wasn't supposed to be the San Francisco 49ers' top sack specialist in 2020.
After his career-best 8.5 sacks that year, though, he was.
Hyder almost fell into that accolade, thanks to the sheer number of injuries the Niners suffered, including edge Nick Bosa's season-ending ACL tear in Week 2.
San Francisco had picked up Hyder, thanks largely to his previous work with defensive line coach Kris Kocurek when both were with the Detroit Lions. In 2016, Hyder had recorded eight sacks, and it was that kind of effort the 49ers were hoping for when they inked him to a one-year deal for 2020.
Just not in the context of Bosa missing almost all of the year.
Hyder turned that career-best 2020 season into a solid free-agent contract with the Seattle Seahawks the following offseason. But, after largely disappointing there, he ultimately elected to return to the Niners on a one-year deal in 2022.
But his numbers, despite playing in 16 games, were more indicative of those other seasons aside from 2016 and 2020.
Still, San Francisco appreciated Hyder's ability to play on the inside and on the edge, and with some notable free-agent losses from the defensive line during the offseason, bringing Hyder back made a good deal of sense.
What is Kerry Hyder's contract with the 49ers in 2023?
The 32-year-old Hyder comes back to the red and gold on another one-year deal worth up to what's essentially a veteran's minimum at $1.08 million, according to Over the Cap, although none of it is guaranteed.
That's a bit of a precarious spot for Hyder, as the 49ers could move on from him at any point with zero long-term financial ramifications and dead money.
As such, his landing spot is pretty wide. He could be as high as a starting defensive end or could potentially drop off the roster as a pre-Week 1 cut as well.
What will Kerry Hyder's role with 49ers be this season?
Three of the Niners' four starting spots on the D-line are set with Bosa, Arik Armstead and another high-profile free-agent add, Javon Hargrave. The edge spot opposite Bosa, however, is up for grabs in the wake of Samson Ebukam and Charles Omenihu departing via free agency.
Ideally, San Francisco would have second-year pro Drake Jackson assume the spot after his hot start (and disappointing finish) from his rookie 2022 campaign. Or it could be Robert Beal, the rookie, or possibly other veteran free-agent adds like Austin Bryant and Clelin Ferrell, both of whom had Hyder-like careers prior to joining the 49ers.
While not having the ideal outside edge-rushing speed the Niners desire, Hyder could potentially end up starting in that spot before potentially giving way to Jackson or Beal.
Yet that could be the same for Ferrell or Bryant, too. That'll be a competition to watch during training camp.
What's most likely the case, probably thanks to Kocurek's influence, is Hyder returns to the same kind of rotational/depth role he performed in a season ago. And that probably translates into a merely so-so statistical effort.
As long as San Francisco gets the sack production from others, it won't matter much.