George Kittle is one of the more one of a kind players in the NFL. The 49ers tight end has been San Francisco’s most proficient pass-catcher and seemingly one of its best run-blockers in the course of the last three seasons.
Kittle’s agent, Jack Bechta, as of late revealed to NBC Sports Bay Area he accepts the 26-year-old “unicorn” deserves an agreement befitting his specific arrangement of abilities. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah was discussing Kittle’s negotiations as of late, and the pundit believes the tight end’s annual salary could be almost double that of the current biggest agreement at the position, Cleveland Browns tight end Austin Hooper.
“I think he’s gonna find his way closer to 20 (million) than he’s gonna be closer to 15 (million),” Jeremiah said. “Because there are hybrids, guys that can do a lot of different things and that’s the word we’ve used here with George Kittle, but then there’s another level, I just call him a unicorn.
“There’s nobody else like him in the NFL, he is one of one, that can do everything he does at the level at which he does it. That to me makes him, in my opinion, the most valuable 49er on that team. He’s 26 years old, he’s got high character, he’s a leader, these are the guys you are ok with maybe paying a little bit more than you’d want to.”
There’s that word once more, “unicorn.” Kittle and his representation aren’t anticipating that the All-Pro’s pay should be near the highest among the league’s tight closures.
“I think of George Kittle as a part offensive tackle, part wide receiver,” said NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks. “Because of his dominance in the run game.”
Brooks at that point highlighted a graphic that indicated the sizable disparity in a few key rushing categories when Kittle was on the field and when he was on the sideline. The Niners averaged five yards for every carry when Kittle was in the game, and simply 3.5 yards for the carries when he wasn’t in. Kittle had the most prolific season in NFL history for a tight end regarding getting yards in 2018, and that fundamentally accompanied Nick Mullens at quarterback.
So how about we rather stack Kittle’s potential pay against the highest-end offensive linemen and wide recipient annual compensations.
The five highest-paid linemen every year range between $16 million and $22 million, as Houston Texans tackle Laremy Tunsil tops the list. For wide beneficiaries, the range is $18 million and $22 million, with Atlanta’s Julio Jones standing out.
We’ve seen tight closures attempt to win wide receiver cash previously. Jimmy Graham and the New Orleans Saints broadly beefed about whether Graham would be assigned as a beneficiary or as a tight end, surrendered that he lined principally as a wideout in the Saints’ offense. At last, Graham was regarded as a tight end by an arbitrator and was paid in like manner.
If Kittle ends up getting a long-term extension with an AAV in the area or even north of $20 million, it could force San Francisco to move or release a player to remain within the salary cap.
Graham was a dynamic beneficiary given his size, however, he isn’t half the blocker Kittle is in the run game. The 49ers publicly have given each sign that they plan to deal with Kittle, and it’s entirely conceivable the two sides will go to an agreement before the 2020 season starts.
Simply don’t be shocked if the annual compensation begins with a two rather than a one.