San Francisco 49ers

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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Why Richard Sherman feels white QBs like Wentz speaking up about racism is important

Why Richard Sherman feels white QBs like Wentz speaking up about racism is important

Last Thursday, Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz posted a message online speaking out against institutional racism in the United States after the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.

Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was killed in Minneapolis last Monday night by a police officer in an incident caught on camera. The officer kneeled on his neck for an extended period of time while Floyd was handcuffed.

Wentz speaking up - saying that "institutional racism in this country breaks my heart and needs to stop" - was an unusual move for the quarterback, who normally avoided discussing anything societal during his first four seasons with the Eagles.

But his decision to break that trend was felt around Philadelphia and nationally, and a number of other white players, including the Eagles' Zach Ertz, echoed his sentiments in the following days.

And Wentz's message apparently earned him some serious respect from veteran San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman.

Sherman spoke with Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer over the weekend, and had good things to say:

First, Eagles QB Carson Wentz said something. Then Bengals QB Joe Burrow said something. So too did Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence and new Cowboys QB Andy Dalton. All those guys are white, and all could’ve kept quiet in the face of something like this, like quarterbacks routinely have in the past. But they didn’t.

As to the importance of that, I didn’t even have to ask Sherman to go there. He went on his own, volunteering his feelings on the gravity of their words.

'I’m impressed with the white QBs speaking up because those are voices that carry different weight than the black voices for some people,' Sherman said. 'Which means the people who refuse to listen to a black athlete’s perspective will hear the same thing said from a white athlete, but receive the message much differently. So it’s awesome that more people are speaking out, because in sports, you really have a love and appreciation for your fellow man, regardless of race.

'And I think that’s what makes sports and teams so special, because a lot of the stereotypes are torn down. You really get to know one another, not judge based off nonsense.'

On the football field, Sherman and Wentz have faced off just once since Wentz entered the league in 2016, a 26-15 Seahawks win in Week 10 of Wentz's rookie year. Sherman intercepted Wentz in the third quarter.

But off the field, it seems the two have plenty of common ground in the fight for justice and equality.

The Eagles and 49ers are scheduled to play on Oct. 4, the Sunday Night Football game for Week 4, this season.

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Eagles great Herm Edwards says he 'still bleeds green' despite 49ers friendship

Eagles great Herm Edwards says he 'still bleeds green' despite 49ers friendship

Former Eagles cornerback Herm Edwards has lived a rich football life in a number of different time zones, so he'd be excused if picking a favorite team was a tough one.

But it doesn't seem like Edwards has any trouble choosing the team that has stuck with him, decades later: it's still the Eagles.

Edwards appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area's 49ers Insider Podcast this week to discuss first-round wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, whom Edwards coached at Arizona State.

Edwards talked regularly with 49ers general manager John Lynch, a good friend from their days with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, about Aiyuk leading up to the draft, and Edwards said during the podcast that he's become a 49ers fan since Lynch took over as the 49ers general manager in 2017.

But, he explained to Bay Area's Matt Maiocco, he hasn't left his Philly roots behind:

Edwards: I'm a 49ers guy. When John took over that job, obviously, is when I became a 49ers fan, so I'm wishing all those guys luck in that organization.

[...]

Maiocco: Do you wish you ever got a chance here?

Edwards: You know, I was a West Coast guy, but I still bleed green. I made my hay in Philadelphia. So I'm okay. It would've been fun to play for the home team, but it all works out.

Edwards spent nine excellent seasons with the Eagles, racking up 33 interceptions with the Birds and appearing in Super Bowl XV, and is of course best known for his touchdown in the original Miracle at the Meadowlands. 

That Edwards, who grew up on the West Coast, coached in the NFL in New York and Kansas City, and is now back out West at Arizona State, still cherishes his time with the Eagles so dearly is pretty awesome, and speaks volumes to the incredible football culture right here in Philly.

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