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Jeremiah: Kittle’s new annual salary could be ‘closer to’ $20 million

Pittsburgh Steelers v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks discussed what San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle’s contract extension would look like. The two start by comparing Kittle’s numbers to Austin Hooper’s since 2018. Kittle has 173 receptions compared to Hoopers 146. Kittle has 983 more yards, and their run-blocking grade from PFF during isn’t close, either. Kittle is ranked third while Hooper is ranked 26th. But hey, they have the same number of touchdowns! The comparison was made because there isn’t a comparison to be made.

Brooks called Kittle a hybrid player. He said Kittle is “part offensive tackle and part wide receiver.” A graphic they used showed the 49ers averaged a yard and a half more per carry with Kittle on the field and 17 more rushing touchdowns. Kittle impact the numbers that are in the box, too. With Kittle off the field, the “light box percentage” was 9.7. With Kittle on the field, that number climbed to 24.1%, per Next Gen Stats.

Brooks said Kittle blocks like an offensive lineman but can run routes like a receiver. Jeremiah discussed the markets for each position. For offensive linemen, the top-end market is $16-$18 million annually, where the wide receivers are around $18-$22 million. Brooks said Kittle blocks like an offensive lineman but can run routes like a receiver.

Jeremiah said, “I think he’s going to find his way closer to $20 million than he will $15 million when it’s all said and done with this deal. Because there are hybrids, guys that can do a lot of different things, and that’s the word we used here with Kittle. But then there is another level. I just call them a unicorn. There’s nobody else like Kittle in the NFL. He’s one of one. That, to me, makes him the most valuable 49er on that team. He’s 26. He has high-character. He’s a leader. These are the guys that you’re okay with paying maybe a little bit more than you want to. I think he’s going to get paid quite handsomely.”

What do you think is closer to $20 million a year too much?