Report: George Kittle looking to be paid like wide receiver
George Kittle is one of the NFL’s truly elite tight ends, but the tight end label is probably not going to cut it when it comes to his contract negotiations.
Sports Illustrated’s Michael Silver reported on Friday that the San Francisco 49ers star is far apart on extension talks with the team. Silver adds that paying him as a tight end is untenable, quoting Kittle’s agent as saying, “I don’t care about the tight end market. I’m being paid to do a George Kittle deal.”
The implication here is that Kittle, who caught 85 passes for 1,053 yards and five touchdowns in 2019, wants to be paid like a wide receiver. Hunter Henry of the Los Angeles Chargers is currently the highest-paid tight end, making $10.6 million next season. But even Henry’s deal is a far cry from what top wide receivers command. 24 receivers will make over $10 million next season with Atlanta Falcons star Julio Jones topping out the field at $22 million.
Kittle, who was a Pro Bowler and a First Team All-Pro last season, provides unparalleled value with his combination of pass-catching and blocking. He is set to be a free agent after the 2020 season. He is also not the first tight end to argue for being paid like a top receiver instead.