Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports


Did the 49ers make a mistake overpaying fullback Kyle Juszczyk?

Jul 2, 2019 at 5:55 AM3


San Francisco 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk is the best player at his position in the entire NFL.

There's no doubting that. Juszczyk is, after all, a three-time Pro Bowler and has represented the Niners in the league's all-star game in each of the last two seasons.

And the Niners are essentially overpaying him.

This isn't to say it's bad Juszczyk is on the team's roster. Head coach Kyle Shanahan requires a fullback in his offense, and Juszczyk offers more than just a traditional lead blocker in a run-heavy offense. Over his first two seasons with the 49ers, the 28-year-old has totaled 63 receptions for a combined 639 yards and two touchdowns. You won't find that kind of production from the scant few other fullbacks around the league.

That said, it's a bit of a head scratcher why the Niners offered Juszczyk a four-year, $21 million deal back in 2017.

Granted, the 49ers were coming off a 2-14 season the year before and entering the initial phases of what would prove to be a massive rebuild. Overpaying free agents is common under those circumstances, so Juszczyk's cost makes sense to a certain point.

But Juszczyk's free-agent deal remains awfully staggering -- a notion not lost on ESPN's Bill Barnwell, who listed it as the No. 1 outlier contract heading into 2019:

The issue isn't wanting Juszczyk on the roster. It's paying him more than twice as much as any other fullback in the league. He has offered little as a runner over his first two seasons in San Francisco, carrying the ball 15 times for 61 yards. Those 15 runs include a pair of fourth-and-1 stuffs and a third-and-1 stuff which resulted in a lost fumble. Juszczyk has fumbled four times across 98 touches, which is the seventh-worst rate in the league over the past two seasons among players with 50 touches or more.

Those four fumbles over the last two seasons are troubling. Before signing with San Francisco, Juszczyk only fumbled three times during his previous four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens.

One can hope he bucks that trend in 2019, just as much as the hopes are he'll emerge as more of the uber-offensive weapon Shanahan envisioned him being back in 2017.

If that winds up being the case, there will certainly be a bit more justification for the contract.

For now, though, Juszczyk's contract certainly looks like one of the bigger overpayments the team could have made.
  • Written by:
    Peter Panacy has been writing about the 49ers since 2011 for outlets like Bleacher Report, Niner Noise, 49ers Webzone, and is occasionally heard as a guest on San Francisco's 95.7 FM The Game and the Niners' flagship station, KNBR 680. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to his Twitter account.
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


3 Comments

  • Jack
    They have tons of cap room. He has been a consistent Pro Bowler. WHO CARES? (Other than idiots like Barnwell)
    Jul 2, 2019 at 7:21 PM
    2
  • David Mazzini
    You pay 2× the average salary for a player at his position because he's twice as good!I absolutely love Juice,if anything Shanhan needs to figure out how to get him more involved in the offense.If my memory serves me correctly Shanhan refferd to Juice as an "Offensive Weapon" not just a FB ,so lets go Boy Wonder ;Weapons are useless when they're up on the shelf.
    Jul 2, 2019 at 2:08 PM
    1
  • Marissa Kenney
    Everybody likes Jus, but $ are $. He puts pressure on defenses In Shanahan’s scheme, but the fact is production isn’t there. I’ve wondered why he doesn’t get more targets, and why the counter-trey is not part of Shanahan’s change of pace. Maybe it’s partly tied to QBing. In any case there is an enormous $ discrepancy between Jus and Hurd. Betcha Lynch has noticed
    Jul 2, 2019 at 7:21 AM
    0

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