In 2019, San Francisco 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk made $1.8 million more than the Niners starting running back, Tevin Coleman. Do you know how difficult that is to explain to someone that has never watched San Francisco?
“They were one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL last year.”
“Yeah, highest-paid fullback in the league.”
“Correct, he made more than the starting tailback.”
He only had three carries in 2019. Juszczyk also had a career-low in receptions with 23. He did have the highest reception percentage in his seven-year career, as well as the highest yards per reception. Juszczyk had 13 receptions go for first downs, which was the third-most in his career. In 2018 Juice had 15 receptions for first downs, but that came on 37 targets compared to 26 in 2019. Finally, 2019 was easily the highest QB rating when Juice was targeted. That number was a ridiculous 136.9, which was 24 percentage points higher than in 2018.
That’s without getting into how valuable Juszczyk is to San Francisco, specifically. The running game wasn’t the same without the star fullback in the lineup. Kyle Shanahan had to alter his blocking schemes and how he called games because Juszczyk can execute difficult blocks that few others can. You also have to respect him when he motions out of the backfield and into the slot—something Minkah Fitzpatrick found out the hard way.
Age: 29 (turned 29 April 23)
Experience: Seven accrued seasons
Juszczyk enters the final year of his four-year, $21 million deal. His cap number in 2020 will be $6.7 million. For the 49ers to release Juszczyk, he’d have to go on a social media tirade where he’s calling out everyone in the organization. The point is it’s not happening. The team can save $5.4 million if they release Juice, but he’s too valuable to the offense.
What to expect in 2020
Juszczyk’s role will depend on what Charlie Woerner can bring to the table. If the team isn’t satisfied with Woerner, I wonder if we see Juice get a crack at TE2, as the team tried to upgrade this offseason, but ended up drafting Woerner in the sixth-round.
Juszczyk will once again line up all over the field. He lined up 19 times as a tailback last year, 92 times as an inline tight end, 31 times as a slot receiver, and 32 times out wide. Juszczyk being multiple keeps defenses honest in their base package, which opens up the field for everyone else. Juszczyk is heading into a contract year. Will he prove to be irreplaceable in 2020?