The 49ers are sitting at 5-8 and need a small series of miracles to get into the postseason. After last week’s loss to the Washington Football Team, focus has shifted to 2021 and what the roster could look like for Year 5 of the Kyle Shanahan/John Lynch era.
Fullback Kyle Juszczyk was a member of their first free-agent class and he has rewarded the franchise with three straight Pro Bowl seasons. But he’s likely three weeks away from free agency with his four-year, $21 million deal coming to a close.
Juszczyk would be wise to hear offers from other suitors since the 49ers are expected to be in a tough financial spot with a shrinking salary cap. However, the team might have an ace recruiter in respected running backs coach Bobby Turner, who has built a special with Juszczyk since 2017.
“It definitely will have an influence [on my free agency]," Juszczyk told reporters Thursday about his relationship with Turner (h/t 49ersWebZone).
"I've had a great four years now with the same position coach. A guy that knows me, I know him. We have a good understanding and it makes for a really good work environment, so that's definitely something I can't put a discount on. I definitely have really really enjoyed my time with Bobby T, learning from him, and would love to continue to work with my guy."
Juszczyk showed up for Thursday’s zoom call with the media wearing a shirt with Turner’s face and trademark catchphrase, “Ready to ride, dog.” Juszczyk said the Turner T-shirt has become an annual tradition.
"We've got to give shout outs to the OG,” Juszczyk said. “He's our guy. He gets us fired up every year, so he gets a shirt."
Turner has strong ties with the Shanahan family, dating back to those 1990-2000s powerhouse Denver Broncos teams that always seemed to have a 1,000-yard runner. Terrell Davis, Clinton Portis, Mike Anderson, Olandis Gary -- Taylor helped mold them all before working with both Mike and Kyle Shanahan in Washington from 2010-13.
Figuring out the quarterback situation will probably be priority No. 1 for the franchise this offseason and Juszczyk isn’t far behind. While other teams will probably be able to present enticing contracts and possibilities to him, Turner gives the 49ers an element of credibility and stability that is hard to match.