Not only is George Kittle about to change the way we look at tight ends, but he’s also about to change the way they’re compensated.
It’s a bit more unique when it comes to him, however. He’s a hybrid player. And while the “TE” is the position he represents on the 49ers’ roster, he’s so much more than that. His blocking skills are second to none being comparable to an offensive tackle, he can catch like a receiver and those abilities could be used in many aspects of the game.
That’s a game-changer -- and probably why the $20 million per year number is being floated around him. The value of versatility is strong with that one.
“One of the things that our guys are studying right now is, OK, we know running backs that can split out and play receiver have an impact on the defense and how they’re going to deploy the defense,” NBC Sports’ Cris Collinsworth said in an interview with NFL.com.
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Truly, this means the sky's the limit for that of Kittle’s caliber. It was also very noticeable last season when he was on and off the field.
For Collinsworth, that means being more modern in the approach to this type of player.
“Again, you can’t think of 1968 football and apply it to the NFL today,” Collinsworth added.
The 49ers averaged five yards per carry with 20 rushing touchdowns when Kittle was on the field last season. When he was absent, they averaged just 3.5 yards per carry and scored three TDs. He earned All-Pro honors in 2019 as well with 85 catches for 1,053 yards and five touchdowns in 14 games.
The team is working on paying him handsomely, and his agent mirrored the sentiments -- along with Kittle’s situation of him being a very unique player who deserves a “special contract.”
He sure does.