George Kittle is the best tight end in the NFL. That's not opinion, it's fact.
That might even be an understatement, too. Pro Football Focus graded the 49ers star as the best player in all of football last season. But
sometimes all the time, the rich like to get even richer. That was the case when it came to the 49ers' free-agency hopes this offseason.
NFL Media's Mike Silver reported the 49ers made a run at tight end Austin Hooper on Monday before the two-time Pro Bowler reportedly agreed to a mega-contract with the Cleveland Browns.
SF, Washington, Green Bay, Chicago also made a run https://t.co/FfWAsvevsm— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) March 16, 2020
Though the 49ers obviously have a star TE in George Kittle--and though talks on a long-term extension are in the early stages--Kyle Shanahan made a run at the TE he coached (as the Falcons' OC) during Hooper's rookie year. Would have been double trouble. https://t.co/vG3SbLB5Ss— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) March 16, 2020
Hooper, 25, is coming off the best season of his four-year career. He had 75 receptions for 787 receiving yards and six touchdowns with the Atlanta Falcons. All were career-highs.
The Falcons selected Hooper in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft. That same year was 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan's last season as Atlanta's offensive coordinator. Hooper caught three touchdowns as a rookie with Shanahan running the offense.
Now, Hooper reportedly will sign the largest contract in NFL history for a tight end. Well, that is, until Kittle breaks that record.
Kittle still has one more year left on his rookie contract. He becomes an unrestricted free agent after next season, but the 49ers hope to lock him up long term before that.
The Hooper report shows Shanahan could be interested in implementing more two tight-end sets for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Former undrafted free agent Ross Dwelley currently serves as Kittle's backup.