The tight end market has officially been reset.
George Kittle (49ers) and Travis Kelce (Chiefs) each inked massive new extensions on Thursday that will make them the highest-paid players at their position by a wide margin.
Kittle signed a five-year, $75 million extension while Kelce put pen to paper on a four-year, $57 million deal.
Suddenly, Jimmy Graham's two-year, $16 million deal doesn't seem so bad. Then again, you get what you pay for, right?
Graham joins the Bears after a 2019 season in Green Bay that totaled 38 catches for 447 yards and three touchdowns. Compare those numbers to Kelce, who had 97 catches for 1,229 yards and five scores in 2019, and Kittle, who had 85 catches for 1,053 yards and five touchdowns, and it's easy to understand why they're nearly doubling Graham's annual average salary.
At an average of $15 million per year, George Kittle now becomes the NFL’s highest-paid TE, by a long shot. Before Kittle’s deal, Hunter Henry held that title with a $10,607M deal on his franchise tag.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 13, 2020
Does Graham have enough left in the tank to justify his $8 million per year paycheck? He's earning more than players like Jared Cook (Saints) and Darren Waller (Raiders), who each flashed more playmaking upside than Graham in 2019.
The good news for the Bears is that they'll be out of the tight end market for a while, assuming second-round pick Cole Kmet lives up to his scouting report. He'll be a cheap starter on a rookie contract for the next four seasons.
Hopefully, we'll be talking about Kmet as one of the highest-paid players at the position when his second deal rolls around. Until then, it's Kittle and Kelce who rule the tight end universe.