Though the NFL is currently in hibernation until the start of training camp, an fairly newsworthy report surfaced last Friday, that the 49ers are not close on the terms of a contract extension for George Kittle.
Kittle is scheduled to make just over $2 million next season before becoming a free agent. The 49ers obviously won’t let that happen, but they must find some middle ground with the All-Pro to ensure it doesn’t. Kittle’s agent isn’t interested in a “tight-end” contract reportedly, which would max him out a little over $10 million per year.
49ers beat writer Nick Wagoner joined Adam Copeland and John Lund on Tuesday and broke down what he thinks Kittle is likely to get.
“I wrote about this a few weeks ago and talked to some people around the league,” Wagoner said. “One of my colleagues at ESPN, Mike Tannenbaum, and I talked to some other agents just to see how they would approach a deal like this. I think there is a certain level of uniqueness that comes with George Kittle where he’s going to blow past tight end deals. I think even the Niners would agree right now that they’re not just going to try to pay him at the top of the tight end market. That’s a given. The question is how far above it is he going to go, and how far is he going to slot in.
“Mike Tannenbaum made a really good point. He said ‘The floor for a George Kittle deal is about what Christian McCaffrey just got from the Panthers.’ That was a four year, $64 million deal, $30-38 million in full guarantees by next March. So that’s $16 million a year. That butts up right against what the bottom of the top 10 of the wide receiver market is, which is about $16.2 million. I think Brandon Cooks, DeAndre Hopkins, Adam Thielan all make that.
“I think that’s going to be your starting point, and I think you’re going to end up closer to $16-18 million a year is probably about what Kittle’s agent wants. I know he views Kittle as a unique player.”
So what’s stopping the two sides from inking a deal now?
“It’s so hard right now to do these big deals. I think the Niners want to do it, but I also feel like they don’t know what the salary cap is going to look like moving forward next year, particularly if there are not fans in the stands to start the season.”