NFL Network’s Mike Silver reported Friday that San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle and the team remain far apart on a contract extension. Per Silver, Kittle said a ‘tight end deal’ is a non-starter.
Silver: There were some preliminary talks back in February. Nothing for the last couple of months. This is a difficult situation because, during a pandemic, owners are not super eager to shell out massive deals. There’s a lot of uncertainty. So I’m not sure how much this situation can be attributed to the unique COVID-19 situation, and how much of it is just a gap in how each side views this. I know there’s a lot of good intention. You talk to the 49ers, they say, ‘We want him. We will get this done.’ I know George Kittle wants to be there. But they have a ways to go in terms of figuring out his value.
The argument for Kittle the past couple of days has surrounded that he provides a lot more than any tight end. I’ve seen some 49ers fans say they’re fine with giving Kittle Julio Jones money. Where are the 49ers going to draw the line? That’s the question. We know Kittle will be the highest-paid tight end in history. If the front office isn’t willing to meet Kittle’s top-7ish wide receiver money, that could answer why the two sides remain at a standstill.
Silver said he’s been in contact with Kittle’s agent a lot the past couple of months:
“I don’t think the tight end market is cutting it. I’ve been talking a lot to his agent, Jack Bechta, over the past few months, and he has consistently said, ‘I don’t care about the tight end market. I’m being paid to do a George Kittle deal.’ And I tend to agree with him here. He is their No. 1 target, so important in that locker room, and clearly, he is doing something that transcends what a typical tight end does.”
Kittle doesn’t seem like the type of player to let this affect his play on the field. Ideally, the 49ers get a deal worked out soon, and we’re not talking about this every week.