The 49ers have doled out some big contract extensions this offseason for coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch. They also reworked Raheem Mostert's contract to add incentives even after the running back made a public trade demand.
They have not, however, worked out a long-term extension for star tight end George Kittle. The 49ers and Kittle reportedly are not close on any part of the negotiations and there are a number of factors that could keep them from finding level ground sometime soon.
Receiver Trent Taylor, however, wants to see the 49ers pay his teammate what he deserves. The slot receiver took to Twitter to shade the front office after the Kittle was voted as the No. 7 player in the NFL 100 (voted on by current players).
Taylor assured fans it's mostly all in good fun and support of his teammate.
I promise y’all at the end of the day they aren’t worried about my tweets lol let’s relax.. about 90% for fun. 10% serious— Trent Taylor (@Trent5Taylor) July 30, 2020
Kittle currently is entering the final year of a four-year contract he signed a fifth-round pick in 2017. Kittle is set to make $2.133 million this season after making $1.96 million combined over his first three seasons.
The negotiations could go on for some time as Kittle wants to be paid like a top receiver which would have him settle in at around $18 million annually, while the 49ers likely would want to pay him as a tight end, which would lower the annual value to around $13 million. Cleveland Browns tight end Austin Hooper currently is the highest-paid tight end on a multi-year deal, raking in $10.5 million annually.
The 49ers also have the system on their side. Thanks to the NFL's collective bargaining agreement, Kittle would be hit with heavy financial penalties if he chose to holdout during camp. That's also not something that interests the tight end who values his standing as a leader on the 49ers above all else.
The 49ers also have the franchise tag on their side. Kittle likely wants a contract in the four-year, $60 million range, like the one given to Christian McCaffrey who is valuable at multiple positions much like Kittle. The 49ers could tag Kittle after this season and pay him only $11 million. They could then tag him again and pay him around $13 million and then tag him a third time for a cost of only $16 million, which give Kittle about $40 million over three years.
Now, the 49ers are unlikely to do that because it would sour the relationship with their best player, but the point is they do have some leverage with the system on their side.
Kittle deserves to be paid like one of the best players in the NFL. The 49ers will pay him, but it remains to be seen if those numbers will be to Kittle or Taylor's liking.
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