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Kyle Juszczyk is staying with the 49ers...for better or worse

Kyle Juszczyk and the 49ers agreed to a structured contract that lowers his cap number by a whopping $1.75 million, but still keeps him the highest paid fullback in the league.

In other words, the 49ers went out of their way to keep Kyle Juszczyk - though I don't understand why.

He's a good player, sure, but his contributions are vastly overestimated and he is (still) vastly overpaid.

What's more, the 49ers offense doesn't need him anymore. In 2023, Juice was on the field for 495 snaps, which was 46.44% of the time. That means Juice was off the field for the majority of offensive snaps last year. Keep in mind, Christian McCaffrey lead the NFL in rushing and the team was third in points scored per game (and went to the Super Bowl).

None of this is a knock on Juice as a person or a player. He certainly seems like a good teammate and his skills don't seem to have declined much, if at all. But in a salary cap league, every dollar Kyle gets is a dollar that can't go somewhere else. I would much rather have cut Juice and used the $5 million in cap savings on improving the offensive line or the secondary.

I recognize that this is not a popular opinion among 49ers fans. As Vish Kumaran pointed out in our show Monday, this may be the effect of the 49ers themselves pumping up Juszczyk's importance to the offense when he was signed to the biggest fullback contract in history back in 2017. But while that might have been the case back then, it certainly isn't the case now. Juszczyk's snap counts have decreased for three straight years. In 2021, he played 610 snaps (55.91% of all offensive plays), while in 2022, he played 522 snaps (47.45%). Clearly the offense is evolving away from him.

Why are the 49ers so eager to pay top dollar to a player who contributes almost nothing when he touches the ball (19 touches for 125 yards), and is off the field more than he is on it?

Because, 49ers fans will tell you, Juice does so much more than that! He does way more than a regular fullback!

Yet those same people can't tell me what any of those things are. Lining up in the slot? Catching passes out of the backfield? Lead blocking? Surely those are not irreplaceable skills. Surely out of the hundreds of players that come into the league every year, one of them would possess the requisite athletic ability to play the game like Kyle Juszczyk.

Not to mention the fact that Juice will be 33 in April. He's not going to play forever. What's Kyle Shanahan's plan for that? Does he just fold up shop and call it a career? Of course not. He would adapt. Evolve. Build an offense to suit the strength of the players he does have. Just as he has been doing for years.

At some point, the 49ers are going to have to live life without Kyle Juszczyk. But apparently, that day is not today.

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Mar 17

Man you really have no idea, but nice click bait.


Mar 14

I love this line:

"I would much rather have cut Juice and used the $5 million in cap savings on improving the offensive line or the secondary."

If history is any guide, if the 49ers cut Juice and ended up with an additional $5M in cap savings we all know that they would have actually spent it on another defensive lineman.

Keep up the good work Stats!

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