NFL Network’s Mike Silver went on TV Monday morning to provide an update on San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle and how far apart he is with the team. Rob Lowder caught video of the segment. Silver said that the risk of no deal being done would start once the Niners put on pads next week, so this week is pivotal for both sides. Silver said that he spoke to Kittle’s agent Jack Bechta on Sunday, and Bechta told him that “progress has been minimal” and to prove a point Bechta texted Silver an “inchworm emoji,” suggesting that the contract talks are moving slowly.
Silver said money isn’t the only reason for a hold up in contract negotiations at this point. It’s also structure, how much money Kittle could get up front, and how much would be guaranteed. Silver says there is a philosophical divide because the 49ers “want to pay you more than any tight end ever because you are the greatest tight end.” While Kittle’s camp says, “don’t view me as a tight end; I was just voted the seventh best player at any position.”
While we only reference Austin Hooper’s $10.5 million he’ll earn annually, Silver points out that tight ends Zach Ertz and Travis Kelce have outperformed their current contracts and are looking for adjustments in their contract as well. Silver hinted at that playing a role in Kittle’s contract but ultimately said this week is big for the 49ers and Kittle.