San Francisco tight end George Kittle is heading into the final year of his rookie contract, and he and the 49ers are far apart in negotiations for a new deal.
Kittle’s agent, Jack Bechta, told Mike Silver of NFL Media that the two sides are not close. Kittle’s camp is looking for a deal that will pay him like an elite left tackle or wide receiver, not a tight end.
“I don’t care about the tight end market, I’m being paid to do a George Kittle deal,” Bechta told Silver.
The difference in paying Kittle like a tight end compared to paying him like a left tackle or wide receiver is huge. Cleveland’s Austin Hooper has the league’s top tight end contract, at four years and $42 million with $23 million guaranteed. Houston left tackle Laremy Tunsil got three years, $66 million and $50 million guaranteed this year, while Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones got three years, $66 million and $64 million guaranteed last year.
San Francisco General Manager John Lynch has insisted that Kittle will be a 49er for a long time. To make that happen, he’s going to have to show Kittle the money.