49ers All-Pro Named Potential Cut Candidate: ‘Boldest Option’

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan

Getty San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan

The San Francisco 49ers will have to make several tough decisions this offseason, and that might mean saying goodbye to an All-Pro. While San Francisco is still projected to be within the 2024 salary cap, they have very little money to work with.

Which is why Niners Nation writer Rohan Chakravarthi has suggested the 49ers cut fullback Kyle Juszczyk. Juszczyk has become a fan-favorite on head coach Kyle Shanahan’s team. But his cap hit feels inflated compared to what he’s able to contribute.

“At the top of the list, we’ll go with the boldest option: fullback Kyle Juzczyk, who has been with the 49ers for the entire Kyle Shanahan era,” Chakravarthi wrote on February 18. “Now, the 49ers could move off Juszczyk and save $4.91 million in cap space, which could be crucial for other moves in free agency. Facing crucial salary-cap decisions this offseason, as the 49ers will have some needs in free agency, while also needing to account for extra money via the draft with their first and second-round picks, saving the five million would be a realistic choice for San Francisco.”

Despite the fullback position being somewhat forgotten at the NFL level, the 49ers have gotten plenty out of Juszczyk. The problem is that it might not warrant his high salary.

Juszczyk Finds Role in San Francisco

Since joining the 49ers in 2017, Juszczyk has made 7 consecutive Pro Bowls and earned an All-Pro honor for the 2023 season. There’s not a ton of competition for those honors, but it’s still a testament to Juszczyk’s contributions.

While fullbacks’ top duty is typically blocking, Juszczyk has been a consistent presence as a receiver. The Harvard alum has totaled at least 100 receiving yards and caught at least one touchdown in all 7 seasons in San Francisco.

However, his 2023 season was his least statistically productive season of time in San Francisco. Pro Football Reference shows that he caught 14 passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns. He also had five rushes for 6 yards.

Again, fullback’s shouldn’t solely be judged by their stats. But as he approaches his 33rd birthday and his cap hit increases, it does create a negative juxtaposition.

49ers and the Salary Cap

Spotrac currently states that San Francisco will have about $570,000 in cap space to work with next year. Obviously, that’s not going to cut it. They need to be able to pay the players they draft and possibly extend players like WR Brandon Aiyuk.

Cutting Juszczyk would open up that $5 million, which is still too little to do much of anything with. In his article, Chakravarthi also suggested CB Isaiah Oliver, C Jake Brendel and RT Colton McKivitz as other possible cut candidates.

If the 49ers do cut those three players as well, that would save another $9.4 million. Close to $15 million in cap space would allow the 49ers to take care of the essentials. But is still not a war chest to make moves or extend.

In all likelihood, the 49ers will need to restructure multiple big contracts to create those kind of funds.

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