The San Francisco 49ers haven’t reached any progress on a George Kittle extension.
While the DeForest Buckner trade and the 2020 NFL Draft dominated headlines earlier in the offseason, it’s been hard to escape the reality of the current situation regarding Kittle.
Kittle is set to play the final year of his four-year standard rookie contract in 2020 and while the two sides have engaged in discussions about an extension, it doesn’t appear a though they’ve gotten very far.
NFL Network’s Mike Silver went on air on Sunday to discuss the latest between Kittle’s camp and the team and he cited a discussion he had with Kittle’s agent, Jack Bechta.
Unfortunately, the outlook doesn’t appear promising.
"“I talked to Kittle’s agent Jack Bechta yesterday, he said progress has been minimal, and later reinforced that by texting me an inch worm emoji to underscore that fact. It’s not just money, it’s structure, and how much money a player like George Kittle could get up front, and how much could actually be guaranteed.”"
That certainly doesn’t seem like the two sides are any closer to a deal than they were a couple of months ago. And the fact that the problem isn’t just one specific issue but pretty much everything doesn’t bode well either.
Silver later reinforced the issue stating that Kittle doesn’t want to be paid as a tight end. Instead, he wants to be valued as one of the best players in the NFL.
"“At the heart of this is sort of a philosophical divide between the 49ers who say listen ‘We want to pay you more than any tight end ever, because you’re the greatest tight end,’ and Kittle’s camp which is saying, ‘don’t view me as a tight end I was just voted the seventh best player in football at any position.'”"
George Kittle wants the 49ers to pay him as more than just a tight end.
It’s certainly an understandable notion, but one that might force the 49ers to bend more than they’d like. General manager John Lynch and company are more than fine paying Kittle more money than any tight end in NFL history.
But Kittle doesn’t want to stop there. The tight end position notably isn’t seen as high-value position and thus players don’t tend to be paid that well in relation to other positions.
Kittle and his camp are arguing that his value supersedes his position. This is a similar situation to the one between the New York Jets and safety Jamal Adams who viewed himself as more than a safety.
Fortunately for the 49ers, Kittle hasn’t made nearly the same fuss that Adams made and it’s likely the two situations have very different outcomes.
Kittle wants to play for the 49ers and he remains focused on returning to the Super Bowl this season. But his contract negotiations remain a dark cloud hanging over both his and the 49ers’ upcoming season.
And unless one side budges, things will only become more complicated and drawn out.