Free agency: 5 mistakes SF 49ers must not make in 2021

Kyle Juszczyk #44 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Kyle Juszczyk #44 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
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Kyle Juszczyk, SF 49ers
San Francisco 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk (44) Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 1: SF 49ers can’t afford to overspend on Kyle Juszczyk

Fullback Kyle Juszczyk does so much for San Francisco’s offense. Whether it’s as a lead blocker or as a mismatch receiving weapon, it’s perfectly understandable why the SF 49ers offered him that outlier of a contract back in 2017, four years at $21 million with $9.75 million guaranteed.

Yet that was at a time when the Niners were flush with cap space. They’re not any longer.

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And while San Francisco has reportedly engaged in some preliminary re-sign talks with the perennial Pro Bowler, getting into the range where another overpayment for Juszczyk’s services would be detrimental to the team’s long-term plans.

In this case, it’s an allocation of resources that matters most. While offering Trent Williams a comparable deal makes enough sense — he’s intended to be on the field for every offensive snap, after all — engaging in something of an overpayment for Juszczyk would ultimately hinder the team’s abilities to round out other areas of need this offseason while handcuffing the SF 49ers’ abilities to extend players like linebacker Fred Warner and EDGE Nick Bosa in the coming seasons.

Granted, there’s no easy way to go about replacing Juszczyk if he walks. And it would make more than enough sense for the Niners to at least try re-signing him.

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But if those talks wind up getting beyond whatever financial comfort range San Francisco has, John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan need to put the health of the remaining roster ahead of Juszczyk returning in 2021.