There might not be a player in the NFL more underpaid than George Kittle. He’s scheduled to make $2.1 million in the final year of his rookie contract with the San Francisco 49ers.
Kittle has been the unquestioned leader of San Francisco’s offense for the past two seasons. Despite nursing an ankle injury throughout the second half of the 2019 season, the Iowa product had 85 receptions for 1,053 yards and five touchdowns.
Everyone believes whenever Kittle signs a new deal he’ll become the highest-paid tight end in the NFL. However, the current market for tight ends isn’t as lucrative as fans may think. Hunter Henry and Austin Hooper are the only tight ends to make at least $10 million per year.
Considering that Kittle does way more than most tight ends in the league, the All-Pro might want to be compensated at a premium rate. As of right now, it doesn’t sound like negotiations are going well.
According to NFL Network reporter Michael Silver, Kittle and the 49ers aren’t close to an extension at the moment. He thinks it could come down to whether or not San Francisco is willing to pay him as an elite pass-catcher, not an elite tight end.
“There remains a pretty significant disconnect – philosophically – between the 49ers and George Kittle’s camp,” Silver said. “The 49ers believe they want to reset the tight end market and give him a great tight-end deal. Kittle is saying ‘I think I’m more than just a tight end.'”
— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) July 31, 2020
Kittle is a beloved figure in San Francisco due to his energetic persona. It obviously helps that he’s also one of the best players in the NFL.
The San Francisco 49ers might not want to spend more than what the market for tight ends suggests, but Kittle has earned the right to be one of the highest-paid players in football.