Report: George Kittle, Zach Ertz, Among TEs Expected to Sign Lucrative Contracts

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistDecember 15, 2019

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) celebrates his touchdown in the second half an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Brett Duke)
Brett Duke/Associated Press

San Francisco's George Kittle, Philadelphia's Zach Ertz and Atlanta's Austin Hooper are expected to sign significant contract extensions this offseason, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter

Per that report, "Multiple sources around the league believe that Kittle, Hooper and Ertz will redefine the value of NFL tight ends this season, and the position is about see a major bump in the salaries paid to them."

Kittle is in line to make $735,000 next season in the final year of his rookie deal, though he's outplayed that valuation by a large margin. The 26-year-old has registered 60 receptions for 754 yards and four scores in 11 games, a year after catching 88 passes for 1,377 yards and five touchdowns. 

He's been one of the Niners' key offensive weapons in their 11-2 start to the season. 

Ertz, meanwhile, has been one of the NFL's elite pass-catching tight ends for years, with two Pro Bowl selections to his name. He's had another strong year for the Eagles amid the team's consistent issues with injuries and depth at wide receiver, registering 79 catches for 827 yards and five scores. 

Philly's next-best, healthy receiving threat this season is fellow tight end Dallas Goedert (40 receptions for 396 yards and four touchdowns). The team's top three wideouts have all dealt with injuries—Alshon Jeffery is out for the season, DeSean Jackson appeared in only two games and Nelson Agholor has been in and out of the lineup.

As for Hooper, he's been one of the breakout stars at the position this season, with 58 receptions for 640 yards and six touchdowns in 10 games. His touchdowns are a career high, while he should easily surpass his previous high in receiving yards (660) and could catch his previous high in receptions (71).

He's been one of the few bright spots for the 4-9 Falcons this season. 

Hooper will be the headliner at the position in free agency this spring, with Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry and Indianapolis Colts' Eric Ebron offering solid consolation prizes for teams that miss out on Hooper.