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2017 NFL free agency preview: Return of the fullback?

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With free agency approaching, it is time to run down the 49ers roster, looking at cap space and free agency possibilities.

The NFL is just over a week away from the start of free agency! The NFL Combine will keep us occupied in the meantime, but there is plenty to figure out in the meantime. The 49ers have a lot of holes to fill, and with 11 draft picks and a ton of cap space, they have a lot of options at their disposal.

Over the next two weeks, we are going to take a look at each major position group on the 49ers roster. We’ll take a look at the 49ers current situation, impending free agents, and look at the top five or ten players set to hit the market. Today, we move on to the fullback position.

Current roster

Nobody

Free agents: Nobody

The 49ers made extensive use of the fullback under head coach Jim Harbaugh, but they took a big step away from it under Chip Kelly. The 49ers released Bruce Miller early last September after he was arrested for assaulting a 70-year old man and his son. They did not add a fullback after that, and it is safe to say had Miller not assaulted two people, he would have been transitioned into a tight end or h-back kind of role.

Enter Kyle Shanahan. The 49ers new head coach made extensive use of Patrick DiMarco at the fullback position the last two seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. DiMarco earned two Pro Bowl alternate nods in that time, and fittingly enough, hits free agency just as his offensive coordinator takes over in Santa Clara.

The 49ers will almost assuredly add one or two fullbacks between free agency and the draft. DiMarco makes the most sense, but there are some interesting talents that will hit the market next week. Mike Tolbert is available now following his release in Carolina, but given his age, it makes more sense for the 49ers to look at some younger options.

Here is the full list of free agent fullbacks.

Patrick DiMarco, Atlanta Falcons
Kyle Juszczyk, Baltimore Ravens
Jerome Felton, Buffalo Bills
Mike Tolbert, Carolina Panthers
Zach Line, Minnesota Vikings
James Develin, New England Patriots
John Kuhn, New Orleans Saints
Marcel Reece, Seattle Seahawks
Will Tukuafu, Seattle Seahawks