George Kittle, 49ers Agree on Record 5-Year, $75M Contract Extension

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 13, 2020

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) runs against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Josie Lepe)
Josie Lepe/Associated Press

Tight end George Kittle is one of the San Francisco 49ers' best offensive playmakers, and he will reportedly now be paid like one, too.  

Jack Bechta, Kittle's agent, confirmed to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area that his client and the 49ers agreed to a five-year, $75 million contract. Per Bechta, Kittle will receive an $18 million signing bonus and $30 million guaranteed at signing. There are total guarantees of $40 million, according to Bechta.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network first reported the agreement.

Kittle was previously set to receive $2.1 million in base salary in 2020, and he earned $645,000 in base salary in 2019. He signed that contract after San Francisco selected him in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL draft, and he was significantly underpaid given his production.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reported on Dec. 15 that "few around the league believe that Kittle will play next season under those terms."

Schefter noted Kittle, Zach Ertz of the Philadelphia Eagles and Austin Hooper, then of the Atlanta Falcons, were expected to "redefine the value of NFL tight ends, and the position is about to see a major bump in the salaries paid to them."

Kyle Rudolph of the Minnesota Vikings was the league's highest-paid tight end not on a rookie deal last season at $9.35 million.

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The Cleveland Browns signed Hooper to a four-year, $42 million deal in March, which Rapoport, Mike Silver and Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported made him the league's highest-paid tight end at the time.

Kittle didn't get a huge rookie contract since he was a fifth-round pick, but he wasted little time making his mark. He flashed his potential with 43 catches for 515 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie, and he made a massive leap the following season.

He finished the 2018 campaign with 88 catches for 1,377 yards and five touchdowns, setting the NFL single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end.

In 2019, he cemented himself as one of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's go-to options. He hauled in 85 catches for 1,053 yards and five touchdowns during the regular season, which helped the 49ers reach the playoffs for the first time since the 2013 season and advance to the Super Bowl.

Kittle mustered only eight catches for 71 yards and zero touchdowns in three playoff games, but his blocking consistently opened holes for a running game that powered San Francisco to the Super Bowl.

Kittle is only 26 years old, was a key piece in turning around one of the league's proudest franchises and is already a record-setting tight end. It was just a matter of time before he received a massive pay raise.