As a position, the NFL fullback is dead.
That is unless your name is Kyle Juszczyk. In that case, it's a lucrative career path.
The San Francisco 49ers fullback agreed to an extension on Sunday. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, it's worth $27 million over five years. Of that, $10 million is guaranteed.
That's not bad for a guy whose position has largely been phased out of the NFL for the better part of a decade — especially considering that he's already banked more than $23 million in career earnings.
What's so special about Juszczyk?
Juszczyk, of course, is no ordinary fullback. The 29-year-old has made the Pro Bowl in five of his eight seasons while keeping himself relevant with his on-field versatility.
Yes, he's a first-rate lead blocker. But he's also a threat to catch the ball. Over the course of his career he's caught 199 passes for 1,849 yards and 12 touchdowns.
When he's on the field, defenses have to account for him — especially in the red zone. Jimmy Garoppolo looked to Juszczyk to score San Francisco's first touchdown in Super Bowl LIV.
But primarily he's a key cog in Kyle Shanahan's run game, which is more than enough to endear him with his head coach and general manager John Lynch, who appeared to take great pleasure in teasing "Juice" Juszczyk's extension before it happened.
After ranking No. 2 in the NFL in rushing during their NFC championship season of 2019, the 49ers fell back to the middle of the back during an injury-riddled 2020 season. If the 49ers are going to return to form as one of the league's best running teams and into Super Bowl contention, Juszczyk will play a key role in getting there.
Juszczyk is clearly valued as a key member of the 49ers and their offensive philosophy. And they're willing to pay him as such as a fullback, even amid a league-wide salary cap crunch.
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