49ers’ Kyle Shanahan Explains Anxiety with TE’s Contract Negotiations

George Kittle Week 12 Update

Getty George Kittle of the San Francisco 49ers

Now that the dust has settled on the San Francisco 49ers‘ new contract with star tight end George Kittle’s contract negotiations, it’s time to get to all the background info.

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan didn’t wait long to go on the record about the news, which sees the 49ers star earn $75 million over a five-year deal with San Francisco.

Speaking to KNBR, Shanahan explained his anxiety over getting the deal for an All-Pro like Kittle, but that the negotiations were always going to take some time.

“When you have a guy like George who is different and is special and it’s not about just being the best tight end in the NFL, it’s who he is after that,” Shanahan said. “That, to me, makes you want to go get this stuff done when you might not actually have to right now, especially for a guy like that. He’s earned it. He does everything the right way.”

Either way, Shanahan can now breathe a bit easier after what must have been a long six months since the end of Super Bowl LIV.

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Shanahan Further Comments

The 49ers head coach also went on to talk about how Kittle first joined the team, coming into the 2017 NFL Draft from Iowa as a solid, but certainly not a star tight end.

“You got to take all that stuff into account, but we thought he was going to go into third round,” Shanahan said. “We really wanted to go that direction in the third round but we had some other needs that were pressing more at the time. And so we waited, and we thought he’d be gone, so we’re going to go a different direction on the fifth round.”

Obviously, Kittle was still there for the taking and the 49ers didn’t hesitate to add the Hawkeye in the fifth round. The rest is history.

“But the fact that he was still there and how high we were on him from me to [Jon] Embree, our tight end coach, to [John] Lynch and Adam Peters and everyone upstairs to Mike McDaniel from a run game standpoint, and then all our skill guys. I mean we all loved the guy and when he was sitting there in the fifth, even though we thought to go different directions, we couldn’t pass up on him because we saw him as a third-round prospect and we felt so lucky to get him in the fifth. Now I look back and, you know, he’s a top-10 prospect that we got in the fifth, so it was a hell of a deal.”

Summary of Kittle’s Deal

If you hadn’t already heard, the blockbuster deal for Kittle includes $30 million in completely guaranteed money, as in there is no way that the tight end doesn’t receive that money.

There is an additional $10 million in guaranteed money, however, injury leading to waive or an off-field action leading to Kittle being cut could take the money out of his hands, but for all intents and purposes, that money is Kittle’s.

The deal also makes Kittle the highest paid tight end ever, but that doesn’t come as a surprise considering much of the contract negotiations seemed to be focused on whether Kittle should be paid as a tight end or beyond his position.

READ NEXT: 49ers Shatter NFL Record with Star’s New Extension: Report

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.

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