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Golden Nuggets: Kittle was frustrated with his contract negotiations

Your daily San Francisco 49ers links for Tuesday, August 18, 2020

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

NFL Network’s Mike Silver had an in-depth write up on George Kittle and his contract negotiations. Silver said that Kittle became increasingly frustrated, but he never considered sitting out of practice:

“The first thing that hit me was, if you ever want to put out some bad news, you do it late on a Friday — like a Friday news dump,” Bechta recalled. “I was going to a little gathering with some friends in the neighborhood, and I decided not to open it till the next afternoon. When I did, the first thing I noticed was how long it was. Usually, the more paragraphs that come with a proposal, the worse the deal is. This one had a lot of paragraphs. After I took a good look at the offer,” Bechta said, “I started calling it ‘The Valentine’s Day Massacre.’”

For the first time in recent memory, the team completed a major contract without the “exercisable option bonuses” — devices giving management until April 1 to decide whether to fully guarantee that season’s salary (or a portion thereof) for skill, injury and cap — which have become notorious in league circles.

In the past decade, players such as quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick and Jimmy Garoppolo and defensive linemen Arik Armstead and Dee Ford have signed lucrative deals with San Francisco that included the April 1 trigger date, essentially allowing the team to peruse the free-agent market each spring for potential replacements before deciding whether to commit to the player in question for that season — thus creating a scenario where the Niners can ultimately release the player into free agency after most teams have used up the bulk of their budgets. For example, had San Francisco decided to make a run at Tom Brady in free agency this past March, Garoppolo likely would have been in limbo until the outcome, and could have been cut loose after other teams had addressed their plans at quarterback.

Getting to that point wasn’t easy, and the journey wasn’t particularly smooth. There were times when Bechta, whose penchant for blue-collar clientele matches his professional mentality, had to contend with the collective might of Marathe (who earned his undergraduate business degree from UC Berkeley and an MBA from Stanford) and 49ers general manager John Lynch (a former Stanford standout who became a hard-hitting, All-Pro safety while starring for two NFL teams). Bechta educated Kittle about numerous “nuclear” options that could be implemented if talks hit an impasse, including requesting a trade and choosing to opt out of the 2020 season because of COVID-19 concerns, while Lynch reminded the agent that the franchise tag could bind Kittle to the team through the end of the 2022 season.

In the end, a happy compromise was reached, one that reflected the organization’s affinity for a homegrown star who is a forceful and revered presence in the Niners’ locker room.

49ers’ Trent Williams looks dominant in head-to-head meetings with Nick Bosa

Williams was the clear head-to-head winner on Monday.

Once he got his hands on Bosa, Williams made sure he did not go anywhere. Williams locked up Bosa in pass protection to allow Garoppolo plenty of time to deliver a deep completion to Kendrick Bourne near the end of practice. On nine one-on-one pass-rush situations, Williams did not allow a quarterback pressure.

Considering the 49ers already know that Bosa is one of the best in the league at his position, it must be considered good news that Williams won the day so early in his return to the game.

The Good and Not So Good from Day 3 of 49ers Training Camp


1. Wide receiver Trent Taylor.

Two days ago, Taylor seemed out of sync with the rest of the offense after missing the past year with a broken foot. Today, he was back in sync. And just like last year during training camp, Taylor was Jimmy Garoppolo’s favorite target. Taylor caught three of Garoppolo’s seven completions during team drills. Taylor absolutely roasted backup nickelback Jamar Taylor, who played in place of starter K’Waun Williams for the second day in a row because Williams has a sore calf.

2. Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne.

Caught two touchdown passes in the red zone — one from C.J. Beathard, and the other from Nick Mullens. Bourne still is a monster near the goal line. But he also has improved down the field. Today he beat Emmanuel Moseley deep down the left sideline to catch a 30-yard pass from Jimmy Garoppolo. Through three days of camp, Bourne has been the 49ers’ most consistent wide receiver. He looks sharp and in shape — by far his best showing ever in training camp.

3. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Completed seven of nine pass attempts, and threw a beautiful deep ball for the second day in a row. Deep passes clearly are a point of emphasis for Garoppolo, and he seems to have improved at throwing them. He still floats passes to the sideline, but his zip still could come back soon.

49ers practice review: Garoppolo’s deep ball, Moseley’s mentality tested after Super Bowl ails

PICK FINISH: Safety Marcell Harris’ second interception in as many days, this one against Nick Mullens, put an end to Monday’s practice. Harris is vying for a backup role behind entrenched starter Jaquiski Tartt.

TOUCHDOWN TIME: The 49ers did their first red zone session and it produced touchdown catches by Kendrick Bourne (two), George Kittle, Raheem Mostert and Shawn Poindexter.