The apparent contract standoff between the San Francisco 49ers and all-world tight end George Kittle doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon.
According to NFL insider Mike Silver, the progress between the 49ers and Kittle on a new contract has been “minimal.” He cited Kittle’s agent Jack Bechta, who said that Kittle apparently sent him an emoji of an inchworm to accentuate the point.
Per the report, the issues between Kittle and the 49ers go deeper than just money. He notes that there are fundamental differences on “structure, up front and guarantees.”
On one hand, the 49ers are ready to acknowledge that Kittle is the best tight end in the NFL. But on the other hand, Kittle feels that he is one of the best players in all of football.
.@MikeSilver cont'd: There's a philosophical divide – the #49ers are saying 'We want to pay you as the highest TE ever' and Kittle's camp is saying I was just voted the 7th-best player in football at any position. pic.twitter.com/DnfofL03Zb
— Fourth and Nine (@fourth_nine) August 10, 2020
It certainly sounds like there’s a massive void between the two sides. The highest paid tight end in the league makes under $11 million per year. Meanwhile, there are dozens of offensive players who make significantly more than that.
George Kittle is coming off his second-straight Pro Bowl season, and a campaign that included First-Team All-Pro honors. He recorded 85 catches for 1,053 yards and five touchdowns, leading the 49ers in all categories.
It’s clear that the 49ers want Kittle to be around for a long time. But if they can’t reach some middle ground, they might lose him.