SF 49ers: 5 free agents Niners can’t afford to let go in 2021
By Peter Panacy
No. 2: SF 49ers Fullback Kyle Juszczyk
When the SF 49ers were ushering in a complete team rebuild in 2017, fullback Kyle Juszczyk was a pinnacle piece, as evidenced by the whopping four-year, $21 million free-agent deal he received.
It was quite the outlier for fullbacks, yes. But considering Juszczyk’s importance to almost everything Kyle Shanahan wants to do on offense, it was money well-spent.
The problem now, however, is the Niners can’t afford to dish out north of $5 million annually for Juszczyk’s services. Even if it means downgrading the roster from a perennial Pro Bowler, San Francisco has to think about reinforcing other positions of need.
That said, there’s no way the SF 49ers can afford to let Juszczyk walk if contract talks get into ballpark figures.
Juszczyk’s use as a lead blocker and mismatch receiving weapon has been on display for all four years during his Niners tenure. Shanahan’s offense runs so much more efficiently when Juszczyk is on the field, and passing up all serious intents to re-sign him would be a massive mistake.
The money might not make sense in the end, but that doesn’t mean San Francisco should avoid making every attempt it possibly can.