Clearly, the San Francisco 49ers were not going to mess around with the heart and soul of their football team as they handed their superstar tight end, George Kittle, a 5-year contract extension worth $75 million dollars.
Diving inside the numbers: $40 million is guaranteed, Kittle received $18 million for simply signing the contract, and on paper, the deal is worth $15 million a year.
A few weeks back the Kansas City Chiefs continued to spend their Super Bowl edition monopoly money when they signed their superstar tight end Travis Kelce to a four-year, $57 million extension worth $14.25 million a year. Kelce who just won a Super Bowl has put together 6 great years in the NFL so far.
As for the Kansas City Chiefs, they are spending money so fast you’d think they are playing under a different salary cap. Seriously it’s like the NFL gave them an extra $50 million against their salary cap for winning the Super Bowl.
First Mahomes received a $500 million-plus 10-year deal, then DT Chris Jones signed a deal worth $85 million and now Kelce is set with his $57 million deal.
Kelce vs. Kittle Is A Statistically Wash
In 2019, Kelce had 97 receptions compared to Kittle’s 85. Kelce had 1,229 reception yards vs. Kittle’s 1,085. Both Kelce and Kittle found the end-zone 5 times in 2019.
As you can see the stats are comparable and while the Chiefs have spent dollars on most of their key pieces since their Super Bowl victory, the 49ers have allowed a few key offensive weapons to slip away. Notably, wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders went hunting for gumbo in New Orleans, and letting running back Matt Breida slip away seemed like a classic 49ers cash saving move.
Statistically Kittle put himself in the perfect position to reset the NFL tight end market as during his first 3 seasons in the NFL he amassed the most yards by a tight end in NFL history with 2,945, yes you read that correctly, Kittle has the most reception yards by a tight end in his first 3 seasons in NFL history. Kittle beat out Hall of Famer Mike Ditka (2,774) and four-time All-Pro Rob Gronkowski (2,663).
49ers Talk Kittle
“We are thrilled to have reached an agreement with George to keep him in red and gold well into the future,” said general manager John Lynch. “George was part of our first draft class and represents as well as anyone the core values we covet in the players we build our team with. His talent and spirit are unique, his will and grit contagious and his production undeniable. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for George and our team with him a part of it.”
Richard Sherman jumped in with the following statement:
“It starts with him. He’s the best tight end in football. He’s the most physical. He’s not just catching the ball for a good play; he’s playing the game to be rude and to bully people. That play he was getting his facemask pulled, most people would go down and complain about the facemask. Regardless of the facemask pull, he was like, ‘I’m going to bully you all the way to the end zone or until you stop me.’ That’s his mindset. We’re thankful to have him because we don’t win the game without that play.”
“I would first like to express my gratitude and appreciation to the entire 49ers organization, especially the York family, who made all of this possible. To John Lynch and the staff who selected me in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, I want to say thank you for giving me this opportunity. I love being a 49er and am blessed to have the opportunity to wear red and gold for years to come. I can’t wait to continue our quest to bring another Super Bowl back to The Bay.
“I want to thank my teammates for their hard work and help in making me be the best teammate, player and man I can be each week. Together we have already accomplished amazing things, but we all know there is still so much more to do. It’s an incredible locker room to be a part of and I am grateful to my brothers for making this such a fun and exciting place to play football.”
The MIGHTY Line
The reality is George Kittle is one of those guys that not only delivers on the field but off the field, he is the kind of guy you’d want to watch a playoff hockey game with.
Now tight ends clearing a 1,000 yards a season isn’t new as back in the 80s Kellen Winslow Sr. did it 3 times in his 9-year career. In 17 years in the NFL Tony Gonzalez passed 1,000 yards receiving 4 times. Kittle and Kelce are turning the page on what a tight end can accomplish year in and year out. Gone are the days of the occasional 1,000 yards in receiving yards, they are turning that 1,000-yard achievement into the norm.
Kittle is clearly worth the dollars as his impact on the team has been significant. While the stats are great, the energy and intensity he brings to the team are what sets him apart from most other tight ends in the NFL. Plus there is no better post-game interview in the NFL than George Kittle, who oftentimes goes all George of The Jungle in those nationally televised post-game interviews.