Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports


49ers Top 20 for ‘20: #14 Kyle Juszczyk

Gilbert Brink
Feb 21, 2020 at 7:04 AM


When Head Coach Kyle Shanahan and GM John Lynch began their journey to rebuild the 49ers, one of their most controversial signings was fullback Kyle Juszczyk. For starters, the NFL has been phasing out the fullback position for some time now. The majority of NFL teams do not even carry a fullback on their rosters, and here were the 49ers not only signing a fullback, but giving one a 4-year, $21 million contract in the 2017 offseason.

The 49ers viewed Juszczyk as much more than a Fullback, they labeled him as an offensive weapon (OW). Fans were unaware at the time what Shanahan had planned for Juszczyk, but over the course of the next 3 seasons it was apparent why the 49ers valued Juszczyk as much as they did. Juszczyk has filled the traditional role of a fullback exceptionally well, being the lead blocking force in a very effective run game. Outside of those traditional duties, Juszczyk has displayed his unique skill set as a pass catcher with huge plays down the field in each of his 3 seasons. There was only one 49er who caught a touchdown in Super Bowl 54. Juszczyk was that 49er.

In Juszczyk the 49ers have found a very talented role player who fits perfectly into the Shananan offense. As much as the league wants to leave the fullback behind, 49ers fans have Juszczyk to remind them of the franchise's rich history of fine play from the fullback position that was built on the backs of players like Tom Rathman, William Floyd & Fred Beasley.

2019 Performance


Fullbacks are essentially the linemen of the "skill positions". You rarely will find them making a mark on the box score, so it's hard to judge their performance based on numbers alone. Juszczyk started 12 games in 2019, racking up 20 receptions for 239 yards and 1 TD. In the Super Bowl Juszczyk shined on the brightest stage, catching 3 passes for 39 yards and 1 TD. According to Pro Football Focus Juszczyk graded out at 73.3, highest among all NFL fullbacks.

2020 Cost


The cap hit for Juszczyk in 2020 is $6.7 million. This is his final year over his 4-year deal. If the 49ers release/trade Juszczyk prior to 6/1/20, they can save $5.4 million against the cap in 2020.

Future Outlook


As great as Juszczyk has been for the 49ers, it may be time to think about moving on. The extra $5.4 million saved by parting with Juszczyk could help in signing one of the current 49ers big name free agents, whether it be WR Emmanuel Sanders, DE Arik Armstead or S Jimmie Ward or acquiring an outside free agent to help put the 49ers over the top. During his 4 game absence in 2019 the 49ers used TE Ross Dwelley (exclusive rights free-agent in 2020) to fill in for Juszczyk. While the running game was not as effective, Dwelley caught 15 balls for 91 yards and 2 TDs in 2019. He may not be the blocker that Juszczyk is, but a converted tight end makes sense as a replacement for a great pass catching fullback like Juszczyk. Don't be surprised if the 49ers either ask Juszczyk to renegotiate his contract or he becomes a shocking cut this spring.



Next: No. 13 Jaquiski Tartt
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


1 Comment

  • RK
    lmao Juszczyk is going nowhere, he is one of the most important pieces in offense, he will stay until his immediate replacement is drafted. You could see the difference on the running game when he was out. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if they extend him after Kittle and Buckner deals are done.
    Feb 21, 2020 at 7:27 AM
    2
    Response: If you can't tell by my writing, I love Juice. I just think Juice made sense to a 2-14 team with a ton of cap space, this is now a SB contender that has very little cap room and has to pay Kittle, Buckner, which will leave us almost no cap room and free agents at key positions of WR,DE and S. I think Jimmie Ward brings more to the 49ers than Juice does, if healthy of course. So if cutting Juice meant keeping Ward long term, i'd be okay with that.

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