The San Francisco 49ers surprised the NFL world this week when they signed fullback Kyle Juszczyk to a four-year worth up to $21 million. The $5.25 million per year average is 2.5 times the next fullback on the list, and even if the numbers don’t shake out quite like that once the details arrive, it’s a lot of money.
However, general manager John Lynch made it clear on Friday that Juszczyk is more than just a fullback. Lynch talked about the numbers and how “things were getting real” in the negotiation process with other teams showing interest. Lynch said he understands the perception of the big dollars handed out to Juszczyk, but said, “he’s worth it to us.” More specifically, he said they weren’t going to call Juszczyk a fullback. Instead, they wanted to refer to him as an OW, an offensive weapon.
I don’t know how much of that was for laughs, but based on what we know about Kyle Shanahan and his offense, Juszczyk will see plenty of work. And the OW is excited about the opportunity. He talked about watching Patrick DiMarco on tape, and liking what that could mean for his role. He also spoke with a few players he knew who had knowledge of Shanahan’s offense. He said tight end Owen Daniels, running back Justin Forsett, and quarterback Matt Schaub all gave it the seal of approval.
Juszczyk has a chance to be a pretty important piece of the puzzle for 2017. His ability to play fullback, running back, tight end, and wide receiver open the door to rolling out a variety of looks while running similar plays. Seeing that about a fullback seems odd, but it could create room for all sorts of creativity right out of the gate.