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49ers 90-in-90: Explaining the value of FB Kyle Juszczyk

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Breaking down the 90 players on the 49ers offseason roster in 90 posts (over 90 or so days). Today is fullback Kyle Juszczyk.

San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

There are still some San Francisco 49ers fans that are upset that general manager John Lynch gave Kyle Juszczyk the contract he did. Juszczyk has more in total guarantees in his contract than the next three highest-paid fullbacks combined. Juszczyk received about $1.8 million more than Tevin Coleman did from the 49ers this offseason.

If you look at his raw stats, you’re going to think that Juszczyk is not worth his deal. 15 carries over the last two years has been brought up. His 30 catches with an average of over ten yards per reception seems to be forgotten in arguments. You’ll never be able to quantify Juszczyk as a player fully. Being a viable threat out of the backfield, and being able to line up wide as a receiver, while a guy like Dante Pettis can work on a mismatch inside, is a testament to Juszczyk. I’d love to know the number of big plays the 49ers offense has had over the past two years when Juszczyk is being guarded by the other teams “best player.” Juszczyk is quite the receiver himself.

Basic info

Age: 28

Experience: 6 accrued seasons

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 245

Cap Status

Juszczyk signed a four year, $21 million contract with the 49ers on March 11, 2017. Juszczyk’s contract has $9.75 million in guarantees, $7 million of which is guaranteed at signing including a $5 million signing bonus. There are yearly per game roster bonuses in the contract. His cap number for 2019 is $5,950,000.

Why he might regress in 2019

Jusczcyk has been consistent throughout his career. Over the past four years, his low in receptions was 30--last year--, and his high was 41. He’ll be in that range, and somewhere in the 300-yard ballpark as well. Jusczcyk will regress if the offensive line regresses. If they can’t block, Kyle Shanahan won’t have the luxury to send Jusczcyk out in routes, as he’ll need to be the extra blocker.

Fullbacks are always doing the dirty work, so there’s the injury risk. There’s also the whole “too many mouths to feed” argument. The addition of Coleman, and getting Jerick McKinnon back could take away a few touches a game for Jusczcyk. His value won’t go down, but his production might.

Why he might improve in 2019

If the scene is too much for the younger players that the 49ers are counting on to produce, Jusczcyk will fill that role. For example, if Kaden Smith or whoever lines up as the TE2 can’t handle the responsibility, that’s a smooth transition for Jusczcyk. He lined up as an inline tight end 61 times last year. He also lined up 50 times as a slot receiver, and 56 times out wide. You can use the word versatile with Jusczcyk because he is productive in multiple spots. The ability to play in various places will likely be the reason for improvement for Jusczcyk this season.