49ers Rumors: George Kittle Closing in on 'Massive' Contract Extension with SF

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured 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

The San Francisco 49ers and tight end George Kittle are reportedly close to an agreement on a "massive" contract extension.

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported Thursday the deal is expected to make Kittle the league's highest-paid tight end "by far."

The 26-year-old University of Iowa product is set to enter the final season of his four-year, $2.7 million rookie contract with the Niners, who selected him in the fifth round of the 2017 draft.

Kittle has significantly outplayed that draft position. He's recorded 216 catches for 2,945 yards with 12 touchdowns in 45 regular-season appearances across his first three years with San Francisco.

In July, the two-time Pro Bowl selection told Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area he had no plans to hold out, even if the sides didn't come to terms before the 2020 season.

"Being a captain, I want to be there for my team, and I need to show the right leadership skills," Kittle said.

There are a few ways to describe the "highest-paid" player at a position. Here are a few different standards Kittle would have to surpass for that distinction, per Spotrac:

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  • Total Contract Value: $54 million (Rob Gronkowski)
  • Average Contract Value: $10.6 million (Hunter Henry)
  • Guaranteed Money: $23 million (Austin Hooper)

It's likely Kittle will rank first in all of those categories when his deal is finalized. Grant Cohn of Sports Illustrated reported a source told him it'll be a six-year, $94.8 million contract with $47.4 million in guaranteed money.

The Wisconsin native's substantial raise is warranted. He ranks third in receptions (173), second in receiving yards (2,430) and sixth in touchdowns (10) among tight ends over the past two years, per Pro Football Reference. He was named first-team All-Pro for the 2019 campaign.

Kittle and the Niners are scheduled to kick off the new season Sept. 13 when they host the NFC West rival Arizona Cardinals at Levi's Stadium.