While the Seahawks haven’t necessarily made big splashes in free agency, general manager John Schneider placed an emphasis on aggressively improving the team’s pass rush despite limited salary cap space.
First, Schneider re-signed veterans Carlos Dunlap and Benson Mayowa to two-year deals. Though Dunlap joined the team in late October via trade and only appeared in eight regular season games, the two players combined to produce 11.0 sacks and 23 quarterback hits, playing a critical role in Seattle finishing with more sacks than any other team in the league over the final nine weeks of the 2020 campaign.
But the Seahawks renowned executive didn't stop with simply retaining Dunlap and Mayowa. He also sought a potential upgrade at the base end spot and checked off that box by signing versatile edge defender Kerry Hyder, who broke out with a career-high 8.5 sacks for the 49ers last season.
Though he's not an overly explosive athlete - Hyder ran a slow 5.10-second 40-yard dash at the 2014 NFL combine coming out of Texas Tech, albeit at a heavier 290 pounds - he also offers elite quickness and change of direction skills for a player of his stature. He posted a faster short shuttle time (4.25 seconds) than former Seahawks receiver Golden Tate, while his 7.23-second 3-cone drill was near identical to current slot cornerback Ugo Amadi.
Interestingly, per Pro Football Reference, Hyder is one of only eight players at 290 pounds or heavier to record such times in those two testing events. Among others on the list? Cardinals star and future Hall of Famer J.J. Watt.
Since going undrafted, Hyder has carved out an interesting six-year NFL career in large part due to his underrated athleticism and versatility. Now lighter at 270 pounds, he still has enough girth to reduce inside and play defensive tackle, but he spent the bulk of his time in San Francisco playing off the edge and provided unexpected pass rushing contributions after Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas suffered season-ending injuries.
After changing zip codes in the NFC West, how will Hyder fit into the Seahawks plans in 2021 and beyond? Check out my latest film study as I investigate the veteran defender's biggest strengths and weakness and what fans should reasonably expect from the free agent signee next season.