Building a Super Bowl-contending team like the San Francisco 49ers isn’t just about keeping the stars, it’s about keeping the players at all levels of the depth chart.
It makes sense, after all, the guys lining up against the starters are expected to give the first-22 everything they’ve got in practice to keep them on the top of their game, while also improving themselves in case their name gets called.
Sunday, San Francisco announced the latest of roster moves, re-signing Alex Barrett after the defensive lineman was waived just a handful of days ago when the team announced a handful of designations and waives as the team begins the process of trimming to the final 53 players.
But Barrett isn’t a name that most recognize. So who is he?
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Barrett attended San Diego State University after graduating high school in Mesa, Arizona, playing four seasons for the Aztecs from 2013 to 2016.
During his time at San Diego State, Barrett became the first Aztec ever to be named First-Team All-Mountain West multiple times, earning the honor in 2015 and 2016 as a redshirt junior and redshirt senior.
With a Honoroble Mention spot to boot in 2014, Barrett started a total of 38 games for San Diego State and had 50 total appearances, hitting 91 solo tackles, 19 sacks, two interceptions and adding three forced fumbles.
After his time with the Aztecs, Barrett went undrafted in the 2017 NFL Draft before joining the Detroit Lions, where he spent time bouncing between the active roster, the practice squad and as a free agent in just under two seasons.
After being released in the 2018 season, Barrett joined Alliance of American Football outfit San Diego Fleet, totaling two sacks in eight games played before the league eventually shut down.
After the end of the AAF, Barrett made it all the way to the final round of roster cuts for the Oakland Raiders last season, but was placed on injured reserve and then released via settlement from the AFC West team.
In November of 2019, Barrett was signed by the 49ers to the team’s practice squad and then re-signed with the team this past February, staying on the roster until July 30 when he was initially waived.
Expectations for Barrett
To be honest, the likely outcome for Barrett is to be cut again and then put on the practice squad, which is a fine place to have him. When given the chance at the college and AAF levels, he produced, but unfortunately for Barrett, there isn’t a deeper spot on the San Francisco roster.
However, generally players don’t consistently make reserves or practice squads unless they do have something to offer, which is a more optimistic sign for Barrett.
It’s highly unlikely that he makes a drastic ascent up the roster over the next few weeks, but with possible opt-outs, injuries and other hiccups, the cliche that a team can never have enough depth is more true than ever.
Evan Reier is a sportswriter covering the San Francisco 49ers for Heavy.com and local sports for the Montana Standard in Butte, Mont. Reach out to him on Twitter at @evanreier and join our 49ers community at Heavy on 49ers on Facebook.