George Kittle Contract Extension: Is 49ers Tight End About to Make History?

Getty George Kittle of the San Francisco 49ers

George Kittle is arguably the best tight end in the NFL right now. In just three seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, he’s been an All-Pro twice (second team last year, first team this year) and he has been a top five tight end statistics-wise over the last two years. Even those who would argue the superiority of another tight end would surely keep Kittle’s name in the conversation, and just this week, future Hall of Famer and legendary tight end Rob Gronkowski said he’d take George Kittle over the likes of Travis Kelce.

Kittle will be entering the fourth and final year of his rookie deal next season, and the 49ers would be remiss to not sign him to a huge deal after that. He has been a huge part of their offense, and he led the team in receiving yards the last two seasons. Kittle’s future contract have to be a huge one — especially considering his current estimated market value.

George Kittle’s Current Contract: A Year-By-Year Breakdown

To say the 49ers are getting a lot of bang for their buck with Kittle is an understatement. There are currently 90 tight ends in the league who make more money than Kittle does — yet few have produced on the field the way he has. Kittle is currently in the third year of his rookie contract, and will enter his final year in 2020.

Kittle’s average salary per season is $674,572. He signed a four-year, $2,698,287 contract, with a $298,287 signing bonus, and $298,287 in guaranteed money. Here’s a breakdown of what he has made every year, including what he’ll make next season, which will be the final year of his contract, per Spotrac.

2017: $763,287 (included $465,000 base salary and $75,571 signing bonus)

2018: $555,000

2019: $645,000

2020: $735,000

In 2021, though, Kittle will be cashing — big time.

George Kittle: About to Be Highest Paid TE in History?

George Kittle contract salary

GettyTight end George Kittle has been the best play-maker on the 49ers offense over the last two seasons. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Travis Kelce is currently the highest paid tight end in football, making an average of $9,638,400 a season. According to Spotrac, Kittle’s estimated market value should land him a larger contract than Kelce’s current one. NFL analyst Mike Garofolo said on Super Bowl Sunday that the Niners were going to make re-signing Kittle a major priority, expecting the team to get started on his new contract almost immediately.

“The Niners are going to make this a priority, try to get an extension done with Kittle quickly,” Garafolo said. “The top of the tight end market (is) about $10 million per year. He’s going to blow the lid off of that. I would think you’re looking at $13 million as the floor on this one.”

Kittle has been one of the best bargains in the NFL, hands down. For a little perspective, the Chicago Bears had four tight ends on their roster make more money this season than Kittle did — and he outproduced all four of them combined. Very soon, he’ll likely be making more than anyone else at his position ever has.

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