George Kittle

NFL Rumors: George Kittle's rumored extension price is good news for Eagles

NFL Rumors: George Kittle's rumored extension price is good news for Eagles

Football's tight end position has changed considerably in the last decade. In 2020 we have a ton of game-changing pass catchers at the position.

Which means it's time for tight ends to start getting paid more, and soon.

One of the players leading the tight end revolution has been the Eagles' Zach Ertz, who is under contract through 2021 but will likely want an extension sooner. His next contract (in Philly, or elsewhere) will be influenced by contracts for 49ers tight end George Kittle and Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. 

And now, we have some idea of what those deals could look like. 

Kittle has been looking for a huge contract, given his clear value in the passing game, but according to a report this week, it looks like the number will be a bit lower than some estimations.

Per The Athletic:

I recently spoke with someone in the know who said he thought Kittle ultimately would land a contract worth $13 million a year. That’s not the spectacular deal some were envisioning for the 49ers’ indispensable man, but it would still set the pace for all tight ends.

It's not mind-blowing money, but it would mark the richest contract for a tight end in NFL history. Right now, 14 wide receivers have a higher average annual salary higher than $13 million.

Does that mean an Ertz extension will land around the same place? And can the Eagles afford that? Let's investigate.

Here's a quick look at their respective numbers from last season:

Kittle: 85 receptions, 1053 yards, 5 TD

Ertz: 88 receptions, 916 yards, 6 TD

Ertz, who turns 30 this season, has reached three straight Pro Bowls and has been the Eagles' most relaible target during the Carson Wentz era. He's not getting younger, but he's still an elite tight end.

Kittle, who turns 27 this season, has reached two straight Pro Bowls, was named First Team All-Pro in 2019, and was the best receiving threat on a 49ers team that reached the Super Bowl.

The numbers put Ertz right around Kittle's neighborhood, but being three years older - and a potentially reduced role in the Eagles' offense with better wide receivers - could make it hard to argue he deserves an equal deal. 

I'd imagine, if the Eagles want to keep him around, he'll land a little lower than Kittle, but higher than Austin Hooper, who landed a four-year deal averaging $10.5 million earlier this year.

(Considering what Dallas Goedert has shown in his first two seasons, I wouldn't extend Ertz, but that's a conversation for another day.)

In any case, Ertz is still one of the most important members of the 2020 Eagles team, as NBC Sports Philadelphia's Dave Zangaro explained Thursday:

One main reason Ertz has been so important to the Eagles is because they haven’t had consistent play at the receiver position. He’s been the offense’s best and most consistent weapon in the last several seasons. In fact, he’s led the team in receiving for each of the last four years. 

While the Eagles have added some new receivers this offseason, my best guess is that as long as Ertz stays healthy, he’ll lead the team in receptions again in 2020.

And then we'll see what happens.

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More on the Eagles

2017 NFL draft: My favorite prospects to watch

2017 NFL draft: My favorite prospects to watch

Live draft coverage begins Thursday at 5 p.m. with Philly Sports Talk and continues until midnight on CSN, and the NBC Sports App.

Every year I fall for players who aren't necessarily can't-miss prospects or surefire top-10 picks. Sometimes it's because of one particular game I saw them play, like Sean Smith against Alabama in the 2009 Sugar Bowl, or just because I love to watch them play, like Florida State's Lamarcus Joyner, or the Eagles' own Brandon Graham when he was at Michigan.

My favorites don't always pan out in the NFL (see Dan LeFevour), but generally they become solid contributors at the pro level.

Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
There are players you just can't help noticing on the field — even if you're a casual football fan. Luke Kuechly at Boston College; Joyner at Florida State; C.J. Mosley at Alabama. They just flash constantly, and you say, "Dang, who's that?" That's Foster. He simply flashes again and again, every time you watch him. I would love to see him in an Eagles uniform and bring an edge and attitude to a lackluster defense. A top-15 pick despite the failed drug test at the combine. Watch Foster's highights here

Taylor Moton, OL, Western Michigan
While his teammate, WR Corey Davis, gets most of the publicity, Moton is a star himself. He played RT for the Broncos, but I see him sliding inside in the pros and becoming a dominant OG. Look for him to come off the board midway through the second round. Watch Moton's highlights here.

George Kittle, TE, Iowa
The guy can catch but it's his blocking that makes me love him. You don't see many TEs burying guys off the line of scrimmage and then 10 yards down the field. Kittle does it on the regular. He's not flashy, but he's going to make some team very happy. If I'm drafting, he'll go in the third round. Watch Kittle's highlights here.

Ryan Glasgow, DT, Michigan
Watch any Michigan game this year, and whenever you see a more highly-touted star like DEs Taco Charlton and Chris Wormley make a play, Glasgow will be right there. To me, he was the most consistent player on that defense. He has some physical limitations, but he's going to make a solid rotational guy in the NFL. He'll come off the board in the seventh round. Watch Glasgow's highlights here.

Matt Milano, LB, Boston College
This guy has Pro Bowl special teamer written all over him. Undersized (6-0/223), Milano is a kamikaze who played strongside LB for the Eagles, as well as special teams, but will be a tweener in the NFL. He'll make his money covering kicks and being a backup at LB, but Milano will be the next Chris Maragos in a couple of years. He might go in the seventh round, but if not, he'll have no shortage of calls as soon as the draft is over. Watch Milano's highlights here.

Here are my favorites from last season's draft:

Kevin Dodd, DE/OLB, Clemson - Tennessee Titans, second round (No. 33 overall) 
Dodd moved from college DE to pro OLB. Unfortunately, he was hurt most of his rookie year and managed to play in only five games. 

Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana - Green Bay Packers, second round (No. 48 overall)
Spriggs struggled during his limited playing time in 2016. The athletic ability was noticeable, but his lack of strength was glaring. 

De'Runnya Wilson, WR, Mississippi State - undrafted
Wilson's lackluster combine performance led to his going undrafted. He was signed to the New England Patriots' practice squad, was released, and then signed on to the Chicago Bears' practice squad. 

Antonio Morrison, LB, Florida - Indianapolis Colts, fourth round (No. 125 overall)
Morrison became a key special teamer and occasional starter for the Colts.