After months of anticipation, discussion and even some concern, the San Francisco 49ers may be announcing their marquee move of the offseason on Friday.
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, which will bring the NFL’s top tight end a new deal that has been months in the making.
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.
However, Kittle responded fairly quickly to the report.
That being said, both NBC Sports’ Matt Maiocco and NFL’s Mike Silver did say progress is being made.
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Further Info on Kittle’s Deal
According to Cohn’s source, the 49ers are going to be able to structure the deal in such a way that it will only count towards $10 million on the books for the 2020 season, helping the team scrape under the $11.8 million in cap space that the team has for this season.
This was always going to be the case for the 49ers and their tight salary cap situation. Kittle and his agent were reportedly asking for payment equal to the NFL’s top receivers rather than its top tight ends, and this deal allows them to pay him close to that money on paper, but not quite the $19 million number that some floated around this offseason.
Interestingly enough, $15.8 million a year will only make Kittle the third-highest paid 49er on the roster, after defensive end Dee Ford and defensive lineman Arik Armstead, who are both making just over $17 million in the 2020 season.
However, as Cohn points out, the 2019 First-Team All-Pro will receive the most guaranteed money of any player on the San Francisco roster, beating out quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
In the context of the NFL, the deal would make Kittle the highest-paid tight end by a considerable margin, beating out Los Angeles Chargers weapon Hunter Henry and Cleveland Browns new guy Austin Hooper.
Assessment of the Deal
This makes perfect sense for the 49ers and Kittle. The tight end will be paid very, very well for his talents, while general manager John Lynch and the 49ers can navigate a tight cap space without any major issues.
After recent reports that the progress between the two sides was minimal, this is welcome news for 49ers fans. That being said, both sides have dropped optimistic statements and quotes regarding the chances at a new deal before the 2020 season gets under way.
“George is a pro, and he’s planning on coming and we’re going to continue to work,” Lynch said to KNBR. “That’s our job, to get that done. I’d be disappointed if we didn’t, so we’re working towards that… I can tell you we’re working in earnest because it’s very important to us, and the good news is it’s very important to them that we agree because he loves being a 49er.”
There was never a doubt that Kittle would show up and play his best, but now the uncertainty could be over, should Cohn’s source be correct about a Friday announcement.
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.