49ers

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' Arik Armstead ignores critics of speaking up on social issues

49ers' Arik Armstead ignores critics of speaking up on social issues

Arik Armstead doesn't want to hear it.

The 49ers defensive lineman spoke to Sactown Magazine for its July/August issue, and says that if you're not willing to listen to his dialogue off the field about social issues affecting our country, he doesn't want you tuning in to watch him and his teammates dominate on the field.

“If you don’t want me speaking out against racism and social issues and social injustices, then don’t watch me play on Sundays," Armstead said. "Can’t have a piece of me and not all of me.”

Armstead also joined NBC Sports Bay Area's "Race In America" series a few weeks ago, and spoke about the pain he felt seeing video of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police Custody.

"Like, why do I have to continue -- why do we have to continue to see people that look like us get murdered on social media and on the TV?" Armstead told Logan Murdock and Monte Poole on  "Race In America: A Candid Conversation." " ... I'm on Instagram, and I just got to see another Black person get killed unjustly."

[RACE IN AMERICA: Listen to the latest episode]

The 26-year-old also discussed a time when he was racially profiled by local police near a friend's house in Elk Grove.

“A cop gets behind us, pulls us over,” Armstead recalls. “‘What y’all doing? Where y’all going?’”

[RELATED: Colin Kaepernick, Nate Boyer helped enact real change with discussion]

The officer then made Armstead and his friends prove that they knew the people whose house they were traveling to, by bringing the cop with them to the front door and having the friend explain that he was acquainted with Armstead.

Armstead has made it clear he won't be staying silent or "sticking to sports." For those who don't want to hear Armstead's voice on these issues, don't expect him to care whether you watch him play on Sundays.

See Joe Staley's motivational IG message for 49ers' Kendrick Bourne

See Joe Staley's motivational IG message for 49ers' Kendrick Bourne

Joe Staley long has been a model of consistency for the 49ers, spending the past 12 seasons protecting a myriad of 49ers quarterbacks as San Francisco's starting left tackle.

Staley's younger teammates held so much respect for him, as you could see from the many who spoke publicly in the wake of Staley's retirement back in April.

It appears even in retirement Staley continues to inspire his former teammates, as 49ers wide receiver Kendrick Bourne shared an Instagram direct message from Staley on Sunday morning.

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

"Never lose sight of the goal. The ring," Staley wrote to Bourne. "That's all that matters in what we do. I never got it. You. Mr KB!! Go get it!! F-----g GET IT!! Make me proud bro. I love watching your hustle. All love."

Staley was responding to a video Bourne had posted of some of the hardware he's earned over his football career, including one of the game balls from the 49ers' blowout Week 8 win over the Carolina Panthers.

[RELATED: Why 49ers should explore David Njoku trade with Browns after demand]

Bourne and the 49ers came so close to helping Staley capture that elusive championship ring, but quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs rallied from a 10-point deficit to stun San Francisco at Super Bowl LIV.

The 49ers won the offseason in the eyes of some pundits around the league, and appear primed for another deep postseason run. It'll be up to Bourne, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, and the rest of the 49ers' talented roster to finish the job if they can get back to the Super Bowl.