George Kittle could get Christian McCaffrey-type contract, ex-NFL GM says

George Kittle could get Christian McCaffrey-type contract, ex-NFL GM says

George Kittle is the best tight end in football and he's about to get P-A-I-D handsomely by the 49ers.

General manager John Lynch has said he expects the 49ers and Kittle to come to an agreement "in due time." How much will the All-Pro tight end rake in? Former New York Jets general manager and current ESPN analyst Mike Tannenbaum believes Kittle's deal will be massive due to one particular aspect of his game.

"What's amazing about him is what he does in the running game," Tannenbaum told ESPN's Nick Wagoner. "He's a dominant blocker and he's been dynamic in the passing game. He's a rare weapon that I think is more valuable than just a regular tight end because he can block so effectively."

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

But what does a massive Kittle contract extension look like? Austin Hooper signed a four-year, $42 million deal this offseason with the Cleveland Browns, making him the highest-paid tight end in the NFL. Kittle's is sure to blow that out of the water. Kittle almost certainly will seek top wide receiver money, which Tannenbaum believes he can get.

"I would certainly say it's probably toward the upper end of where the wide receivers are just from a standpoint of he's a dominant offensive player," Tannenbaum said. "You look at what a guy like Christian McCaffrey got, I think that's much more in the ballpark from the standpoint of you don't just label Christian McCaffrey a running back. I don't think you just label George Kittle a tight end."

McCaffrey signed a four-year, $64 million extension with the Carolina Panthers in April. His deal comes with around $38 million in guaranteed money. As for the wide receivers in the NFL, Atlanta Falcons star Julio Jones is at the top of the list at $22 million per season, with Amari Cooper in second at $20 million. Michael Thomas ($19.25 million), A.J. Green ($18.1M), Tyreek Hill ($18M) and Odell Beckham Jr. ($18M round out the top of the list.

Kittle should slide in somewhere under them, where Mike Evans ($16.5 million), Brandin Cooks ($16.2M), Adam Thielen (16.2M) and DeAndre Hopkins ($16.2M) all reside.

A contract in the $64-$74 million range with around $35-40 million in guarantees should be a deal both sides are looking to achieve.

"When you've got someone of George's ability, you prioritize that," Tannenbaum said. "He's such a transcendent player. ... You just have to sit down with your head coach and your owner and say, 'There's going to be a significant premium paid for this player and we have to figure out where we're going to get it from.' It may be the guard, it may be the third linebacker, but let's all just agree that we're going to have to take it from somewhere because this is such a good player. It's a no-brainer to get Kittle signed to an extension; it's just about making sure we understand how we fit everyone else around him."

[RELATED: Staley believes 49ers' Samuel can be best receiver in NFL]

Kittle is an indispensable piece of the 49ers' puzzle. Not only is he the best pass-catching tight end in football with almost unparalleled YAC ability, but, as Tannenbaum noted, he's also a dominant run blocker who loves demoralizing opponents in the run game. He's also a key part of the soul of the team and is working to become a better leader in order to help quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo pilot the ship.

Kittle isn't going anywhere. It's just a matter of how much it costs to keep him.

49ers' quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo grades his 2019 season 'productive'

49ers' quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo grades his 2019 season 'productive'

Everyone has an opinion about Jimmy Garoppolo’s first full season as an NFL starter.

On Monday, for the first time since the 49ers’ bitter Super Bowl loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Garoppolo spoke publicly about how he thought he performed in 2019.

“I thought it was a productive year,” Garoppolo said on a video call with Bay Area reporters. “Obviously, it didn’t finish the way we wanted it to. But I think there were a lot of things that went well for us.”

Garoppolo had just 10 NFL starts in his first five seasons. He played in just three games in 2018 due to a torn ACL. Last year, he started all 16 regular-season games and posted one of the better individual seasons from a quarterback in 49ers history.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Garoppolo ranked third in 49ers history with a 69.1 completion percentage. That accuracy also enabled his receivers to post big yards-after-the-catch numbers. Garoppolo threw for 3,978 yards, ranking fourth in franchise history.

“The thing I always take pride in is being an accurate quarterback,” Garoppolo said. “The more accurate you are, the more yards after the catch your guys can go get for you. So in our offense, it’s putting the ball in the right spot, putting it in the right timing of the play and it’s little things like that that go a long way in our offense.

“I was pretty happy with everything, how it went. Like I said, we just want the last game of the season to turn out a little differently.”

Coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch discussed the possibility of pursuing Tom Brady as a free agent this offseason before opting to remain committed to Garoppolo, who turns 29 on Nov. 2.

[RELATED49ers GM John Lynch calls Jimmy Garoppolo's physical skills 'elite']

Garoppolo believes, as do Shanahan and Lynch, that he has room to grow as he gains experience. One area where Garoppolo can improve is in taking care of the ball. he threw 16 interceptions in 19 games, including the postseason.

“Having my first full season under my belt, coming off the ACL and everything that went into that season, it will only help me going forward,” Garoppolo said. “I think in terms of being a quarterback, I still have a long way to go. I’m still relatively young for a quarterback, just in terms of playing time.

“As a quarterback, you got to get out there and get the reps, play, get in the live action like that. I think having a full season under my belt will help me going forward.”

How 49ers fans acted toward NFL analyst Adam Rank since 3-13 prediction

How 49ers fans acted toward NFL analyst Adam Rank since 3-13 prediction

It was an idiotic pick, according to himself.

Before the 2019 season began, NFL Network analyst Adam Rank predicted the 49ers would have a 3-13 record. That didn’t happen, of course, as they went 13-3 and found their way to Super Bowl LIV in Miami.

The 49ers fans who got wind of this let Rank have it on social media.

But how have 49ers fans been since then? Maybe not as bad as we thought.

“They’ve been great,” Rank said on the NBC Sports Bay Area’s Balk Talk podcast. “Right off the bat, they’ve been super cool.”

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

So why did Rank choose that ghastly record? Jimmy Garoppolo was coming off of an ACL injury, for starters, and the 49ers secondary was coming off a season where they couldn't force takeaways.

“The defensive secondary had no interceptions -- or, I think maybe it was two interceptions, but the cornerbacks had no interceptions for an entire season,” Rank said. “Richard Sherman, you know, had not been playing well, arriving from Seattle … “

Rank also wasn’t sure how 49ers newly-drafted defensive end Nick Bosa would do. He can’t predict the future. He couldn’t anticipate a Defensive Rookie of the Year honor or an 89.8 grade on Pro Football Focus after a nine sack, 47 tackle, 25 QB-hit season.

How was he to know that?

[RELATED: Rank admits he's an 'idiot' for 49ers prediction]

Don’t worry friends, Rank had his reasons. And he has more than made up for it, predicting the 49ers to finish with a 12-4 record in the 2020 season.

He talks about that, and more on the latest episode of Balk Talk. And wait until you hear about the time Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout asked him for fantasy football advice.