While there may have been some misfires concerning the San Francisco 49ers and tight end George Kittle’s new extension, good news appears to be on the way.
According to the NFL’s Ian Rapaport, the 49ers and Kittle are especially close to a new deal for the 2019 First-Team All-Pro, delivering the former Iowa Hawkeye the lucrative second NFL contract he deserves.
While there was concerns over the fact that Kittle fired back at a previous report stating the announcement would be made this week, Rapaport’s an obvious rock-solid backup to the fact that the deal is pretty much imminent.
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Previous Report and Response
According to Sports Illustrated’s Grant Cohn, a “well-placed” source within the team says that the 49ers will announce George Kittle’s new deal this Friday, making the tight end the highest-paid at the position.
Per the story, Kittle is set to receive over $47 million guaranteed on a six-year deal, with the former Iowa Hawkeye set to make $15.8 million a season, with a massive $25 million signing bonus to boot.
That being said, Kittle wasted very little time going on Twitter to address the report, shooting it down fairly quickly.
The tweet was a bit of a heart attack from the 49ers’ perspective, just because Kittle hasn’t addressed any contract extension rumors or news all offseason, so it felt like the response was somewhat out of the blue.
But with Rapaport’s additional reporting, it seems like Kittle was speaking up because the initial report was closer to the truth than maybe Kittle wanted to let on.
However, it’s important to stay grounded in the fact that the deal isn’t quite over the line just yet. Rapaport made it a point to address the fact that there are “small hurdles,” so there is work to be done.
49ers fans just have to be thankful there is currently more information out than at any point this offseason.
Addressing Initial Deal
With $15.8 million being the rumored number, it makes Kittle the highest-paid tight end by about $5.2 million, soaring past Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry’s $10.6 million a year average.
However, it only makes Kittle the third-highest paid 49er, sitting behind recently-paid defensive lineman Arik Armstead and defensive end Dee Ford, who came to the 49ers with a huge contract initially signed with the Kansas City Chiefs.
In many ways, $15.8 million was about the max that the 49ers could afford to pay Kittle, so even if that’s not the exact number when the contract goes official, it’s likely very close to that.
It will be interesting to see if the initial estimate of a $25 million signing bonus is what Kittle actually receives. It would, for one, quickly validate the extension rather than playing on what would still be a lucrative franchise tag, as well as be a more vocal sign of how much San Francisco value their star offensive weapon.
Either way, the front office and general manager John Lynch will be breathing a sigh of relief to get the deal across the line, and will also give the 49ers another boost as they look to repeat their run to the Super Bowl.
Evan Reier is a sportswriter covering the San Francisco 49ers for Heavy.com and local sports for the Montana Standard in Butte, Mont. Reach out to him on Twitter at @evanreier and join our 49ers community at Heavy on 49ers on Facebook.