It’s not secret the San Francisco 49ers are going to have give tight end George Kittle a lucrative contract extension to keep the team’s best player in the Bay Area for the foreseeable future.
One former NFL general manager and executive is weighing in with his thoughts on how much a Kittle extension will be worth.
ESPN insider Mike Tannenbaum, who spent time as a front office member of the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins, says the recent four-year, $64 million deal running back Christian McCaffrey signed with the Carolina Panthers is good benchmark for Kittle.
“I would certainly say it’s probably toward the upper end of where the wide receivers are just from a standpoint of he’s a dominant offensive player. “You look at what a guy like Christian McCaffrey got, I think that’s much more in the ballpark from the standpoint of you don’t just label Christian McCaffrey a running back. I don’t think you just label George Kittle a tight end.”
McCaffrey’s contract has roughly $30 million in guarantees, but as ESPN’s Nick Wagoner points out, that will go up to about $38 million once CMC gets his bonus in March.
The 26-year-old Kittle played in 14 games last season, finishing with 85 receptions for 1,053 yards and five touchdowns, but his value goes beyond that of just being a pass catcher. Kittle’s ability to be a dominant run blocker is huge for the Niners rushing attack, which averages 2.2 more yards per carry when the tight end is on the field. Pro Football Focus gave Kittle the highest overall grade of any player in 2019 at 95.0, ranking him as the best player in football.
It will be interesting to see how general manager John Lynch and Paarag Marathe approach the negotiations. Kittle will be the highest paid tight end in football, with his deal expected to eclipse Austin Hooper’s four-year, $42 million contract with the Cleveland Browns.
What makes it so unique is how Kittle compares to receivers. As Kyle pointed out last week, Adam Thielen of the Minnesota Vikings is the 10th highest paid receiver at $16 million a season, so expect Kittle’s new deal to be in that range.
I don’t think the 49ers will go into Julio Jones territory, but somewhere around the $15-$18 million dollar range makes sense.
Do you think Kittle’s extension will be similar to McCaffrey’s deal with the Panthers?
On to some more links:
San Francisco had a busy offseason. Bleacher Report’s Brent Sobleski ranked the 25 best moves of the season, and one of the 49ers’ deals is in the top 10.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced sports teams in the state can play home games without fans in attendance beginning next month. NBC Bay Area’s Alex Didion broke down how much playing in an empty stadium will cost the Niners.
The 49ers have previously had some issues with players getting into trouble off the field. Gilbert Brink of 49ers Web Zone says current the team is winning with high character people in their locker room.
It is Super Bowl or bust this year for San Francisco. Tyler Kemp of 12upsports wrote about three worst-case scenarios in 2020.
The GOAT has spoken. Legendary Niner Jerry Rice shared why the 49ers will have a tough road back to the Super Bowl next season. (h/t Didion)
With the NFL schedule finalized, it means the Madden 20 simulations are here! Check out NFL.com’s sim of the Week 7 matchup between the 49ers and New England Patriots.