The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up the 2017 season and have begun their work to prepare for 2018 free agency and the draft. We’ll be breaking down plenty of what that means, but in the meantime, we wanted to take a look back at the season that was for the 49ers. Jimmy Garoppolo capture our imagination, but the 49ers rebuilding process was extensive last year. We are going to take a look at every notable addition and provide a forum for grading how that signing, trade, or draft pick worked out.
Kyle Juszczyk, fullback
How acquired: Signed four-year, $21 million contract
Many balked at the idea of paying a fullback as much money as the 49ers signed Juszczyk for this past offseason, but I was fully on board from the onset. Kyle Shanahan is a coach that likes his “offensive weapons” and that’s what Juszczyk is at the end of the day.
It also helped that his deal was structured in such a way that the 49ers essentially can evaluate the deal every offseason and cut ties with Juszczyk without being on the hook for the remainder of his salary. It’s a four-year deal but it’s essentially year-to-year for the 49ers.
Juszczyk is a great blocking fullback who can push the pile in the run game or get his hands on just about any defender in the passing game. He’s also good with the football in his hands, and managed to catch 33 passes for 315 yards and a touchdown. Keep in mind that Jimmy Garoppolo was only throwing him the ball for the final five games of the season.
Importantly, Juszczyk is only credited with one real drop (I have him listed as having two drops this season, but at the time of writing I have not begun film review) on the season, whereas someone like Carlos Hyde is credited with six, while both George Kittle and Matt Breida are credited with five.
And even more importantly, Juszczyk produced better yardage totals when Garoppolo took over at quarterback. He posted receiving totals of 20, 64, 16, 76 and 19 yards, while he eclipsed 15 yards just twice in the preceding nine games (he did miss some time with an injury).
Juszczyk looked fast and he thrived when Garoppolo was under center. He looked just as energized as everyone else.
His cap hit will increase in 2018, from $3.75 million to $4.5 million, $2.75 million of which is base salary that becomes fully guaranteed on April 1 if he remains on the roster (and is guaranteed in case of injury regardless). He’s set to earn a lot of money, but I personally think we’ve seen more than enough to feel good about seeing him with a full season behind Garoppolo.
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