Pictured somewhere on the ground of the header here is George Kittle, unsuccessfully attempting to do something about it after Aaron Donald had sacked Jimmy Garoppolo and forced a fumble that was recovered by Cory Littleton, who pitched it to Nickel Robey-Coleman. But you won’t find many moments of anguish when looking for pictures of the 49ers tight end through three seasons of play and San Francisco is banking record numbers on the idea that you won’t see many more.
The 49ers have reportedly signed Kittle to a five-year, $75 million extension, which is $21 million more than the record total number for a tight end signed by Rob Gronkowski in 2012. Yes, Rob Gronkowski’s contract from eight years ago was still the most ever signed by a tight end and it’s actually the same deal he’s on right now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Kittle’s $15 million AAV is $4.5 million more than the record number signed by Austin Hooper with the Cleveland Browns earlier this year.
Yesterday’s news about Tavon Austin for some reason had to be shared by Ian Rapoport and Mike Garofolo, while this news for some reason needs to be shared between Rapoport and Mike Silver. OK ...
The #49ers & star TE George Kittle are in agreement on a 5-year, $75M extension, sources tell me & @MikeSilver, one that gives him more than half of it in guarantees. Language is being worked on, but numbers are there. One of their top players, this was a big-time priority— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 13, 2020
Kittle, who has an argument for being the NFL’s best receiving tight end, best run blocking tight end, and best pass blocking tight end, will get $30 million fully guaranteed, which is over $10 million more than the highest full guarantee for a tight end: $19.8 million for Detroit’s TJ Hockenson on his rookie contract. Hooper’s full guarantee was $18.5 million. The third-highest full guarantee for a tight end is Zach Ertz at $13.3 million.
So Kittle’s full guarantee is more than double that of the previous second-highest on a free agent deal.
While players like Jimmy Graham fought hard to be paid and treated like wide receivers — and failed to do so — Kittle signs a deal very similar to that of Jarvis Landry (five years, $75.5 million, $34 million fully guaranteed), who has the seventh-highest salary among all receivers.
Against the Rams in 2019, Kittle caught 13 of 16 targets for 182 yards and a touchdown. In 2018, it was 14 of 22 for 247 yards and two touchdowns. As a rookie in Week 17 of the 2018 season, Kittle had his first 100-yard game, catching four of six targets for an even century against the Rams in Los Angeles. With San Francisco banged up at wide receiver and exceptionally inexperienced at that position, Kittle figures to be even more involved at the onset of 2020.
The Rams and 49ers first meet on Oct. 18 in San Francisco.