Just hours after George Kittle reportedly reached an agreement on a record-breaking contract extension with the 49ers, the Kansas City Chiefs and tight end Travis Kelce reportedly agreed to a four-year extension, locking up the NFL's two best at their positions to long-term deals.
But how does Kittle's new deal stack up with Kelce's?
Kittle's agent confirmed to NBC Sports Bay Area that his client and the 49ers agreed to a five-year extension, with $18 million coming as a signing bonus.
The 49ers’ contract extension for George Kittle, who had one year remaining on his original deal, runs through the 2025 season.— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoNBCS) August 13, 2020
Kelce's reported new deal with Kansas City, meanwhile, is worth $57.25 million over four years with $28 million guaranteed.
[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]
The average annual value for Kittle will be slightly ahead of Kelce, as Kittle will make $15 million per season while Kelce's AAV works out to $14.3 million per season.
Kelce also comes up short of Kittle in guaranteed money, with just $28 million for Kelce compared to $40 million for Kittle. The 49ers' initial guarantee at signing for Kittle ($30 million) even will eclipse Kelce's total guarantee.
Kelce and Kittle 🔥
Neck and neck through the past few seasons. pic.twitter.com/bnox2sc8K3— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) August 13, 2020
Kittle deserved and got more money from the 49ers. Both he and Kelce broke the NFL's single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end in 2018, but Kittle edged out Kelce by 41 yards to write his name into the record books (1,377 yards).
Since Kittle's rookie year in 2017, Kelce has 3,603 receiving yards and 23 touchdowns, while Kittle has 2,945 yards and 12 touchdowns. Kittle's yards per reception (13.6) stands above Kelce's (12.7).
The two faced off last February in Super Bowl LIV, with Kelce's Chiefs coming out on top. He finished with six catches for 43 yards and a critical touchdown in the fourth quarter, while Kittle amassed just four catches for 36 yards.
Kittle's combination status as the 49ers' No. 1 receiver and, arguably, the team's best individual run blocker game gave him a unique case when it came to his contract negotiations. With the previous highest annual salary at the position being $10.6 million, Kittle and Kelce have reset the market at the position. Kelce has been reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes' favorite target over the past two seasons, and that should continue now for the foreseeable future.
There will be plenty of comparisons between these two for the remainder of their NFL careers, but the compensation now reflects who the NFL's two best tight ends are. The best one will be wearing a 49ers uniform for a long time.