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NFL insider wonders if Kyle Juszczyk could become a 49ers’ cap casualty

Feb 20, 2024 at 12:20 PM--

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The San Francisco 49ers would love to keep their Super Bowl roster intact heading into the 2024 season. However, with the team bumping up against the projected salary cap and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk seeking a contract extension, some difficult choices may be on the horizon.

One NFL insider has singled out All-Pro fullback Kyle Juszczyk as a potential casualty as the 49ers attempt to navigate their financial situation.

"Juszczyk has been in San Francisco for all seven of Kyle Shanahan's years as coach," Dan Graziano wrote in a recent feature for ESPN. "He is a vital part of the 49ers' offense and surely would be missed. He also turns 33 in April and is scheduled to earn $6.25 million in salary and bonuses in each of the next two seasons. None of that money is guaranteed."

Juszczyk showed off his versatility in the playoffs, contributing four receptions for 64 yards on five targets.

Initially hailed as an "offensive weapon," Juszczyk remains the lone survivor from the 49ers' initial 2017 free-agent class. While he continues to be recognized as one of the premier fullbacks in the NFL, recent metrics from Pro Football Focus suggest a decline in his effectiveness since his peak performance in 2019, when he earned a respectable 74.9 overall grade.

This decline culminated in a 56.0 overall grade for Juszczyk in 2023. However, head coach Kyle Shanahan remains steadfast in his belief in Juszczyk's abilities, praising his evolution and dedication over the years.

"Kyle is such a good football player, and I think he's better at fullback now than when he got here," Shanahan told reporters in January. "And I think when he got here, he was the best fullback in the league. He's changed his body at times. He's always looking to adjust each offseason. As he gets older, he still comes back, ready to go."

Yet, financial considerations may force the 49ers to reconsider Juszczyk's value.

"Cutting him would save the team $4.911 million against its 2024 cap," Graziano wrote. "If nothing else, it might need to go to Juszczyk and ask him to rework his deal. The relationship he has with Shanahan and the organization might make that easier to do than normal, but regardless, it's difficult to imagine Juszczyk returning to the 49ers on his current contract."

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