49ers GM John Lynch said last month the 49ers will make a strong effort to retain Kyle Juszczyk. The team has begun its effort to retain its fullback of the past four seasons.
Juszczyk’s camp and the 49ers have exchanged offers ahead of free agency, veteran NFL reporter Josina Anderson tweets. While these are described as preliminary talks, Anderson adds they have been pleasant and that the veteran blocker/outlet option would be happy with a deal that keeps him in San Francisco (Twitter link).
“He’s a unique person and a unique football player because he does so many things for you,” Lynch said. “He’s important to us and we’re going to make every effort to try to keep him here.”
Free agency went well for Juszczyk four years ago. In Lynch and Kyle Shanahan‘s first offseason running the 49ers, they signed the former Ravens blocker to a whopping (for a fullback) $5.25MM-per-year deal. This 2017 contract still resides on its own tier at this position, with only two other fullbacks — Derek Watt and C.J. Ham — earning more than $2MM in average annual salary.
While Juszczyk has no other contracts to use in his talks with the 49ers, he has been an essential part of Shanahan’s offense. The NFC has deemed him its Pro Bowl fullback in each of the past four seasons. His 472 offensive snaps were second among fullbacks last year. Juszczyk, who has exceeded 200 receiving yards in each of his 49ers seasons, scored a career-high six touchdowns in 2020. He also helped the team’s run game churn out yards despite five running backs seeing extensive time. The eight-year veteran will turn 30 in April.
The franchise tag groups fullbacks and running backs together and is thus not an option for Juszczyk. The 49ers are prepared to let Richard Sherman depart in free agency and have Trent Williams residing a top priority weeks away from the market opening. Slot cornerback K’Waun Williams and boundary corner Jason Verrett profile as key 49er free agents as well.
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