The San Francisco 49ers have announced a three-year contract extension for center Daniel Kilgore. That will allow him to remain with the team through the 2017 season. Kilgore has appeared in 33 regular season games since being taken in the fifth round (163rd overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft.
He's picked up more and more playing time each season, appearing in all 16 games and all playoff games last year, filling in where needed and being an extra blocker on heavy sets. General Manager Trent Baalke released a statement along with the extension, though it's the general line you expect in these situations.
Baake said the team is pleased to extend a "talented, young player like Dan," and that the move is another example of the team's "philosophy to extend the contracts of our own young players."
Kilgore's extension is significant for many reasons. Since being drafted, he's been talked about as the potential center of the future, and after a few solid seasons in San Francisco, Jonathan Goodwin is about to hit the open market in March. Goodwin has been solid, and I think most of us here would welcome him back, but it's hard to imagine he has more than one or two good seasons left in him.
Center is the only unsettled position on the offensive line at this point. Kilgore is far from proven, but the team obviously feels good about him and wants him here. So either they plan on him being the center of the future, or they want him here just in case other plans -- potentially drafting someone high, bringing back Goodwin or perhaps targeting another center in free agency -- fall through.
Kilgore was arrested in Kingsport last month for public intoxication. It's unclear if anything really bad happened that night, but it doesn't seem that way and it's not exactly common to just award a player potentially awaiting punishment a new contract extension.
So is Kilgore the guy, or is this just securing him as a backup option?