Star tight end George Kittle put ink to paper on Thursday by signing a five-year, $75 million extension deal that included $40 million in total guarantees, according to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports which was confirmed by Kittle’s agent Jack Bechta. Kittle will receive an $18 million signing bonus and $30 million guaranteed at signing. He was previously set to receive just $2.1 million in base salary for the 2020 season after earning a mere $645,000 in 2019.
Kittle has come a long way from being a fifth-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. He followed an impressive rookie campaign given his draft capital with a huge breakout sophomore year, setting the single-season tight end receiving yards record with 1,377 yards on 88 receptions despite playing with quarterbacks like C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens following starter Jimmy Garoppolo’s torn ACL in Week 3. Kittle followed that record year by having another stellar campaign in 2019, recording 85 receptions for 1,053 yards while leading San Francisco to the Super Bowl as the focal point of the passing game.
There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that Kittle is the best tight end in football with the exception of Kansas City’s Travis Kelce, and maybe not even. His signature ability to pile up yards after the catch has always been on display. Despite tremendous volume that would normally drive the number down relative to others, Kittle was No. 1 in yards-after-catch in 2018. Not among tight ends; among ALL active NFL players. He is also a ferocious blocker, playing a key role in the league’s No. 2 rushing attack last season. The 26-year-old tight end earned a 92.5 grade from Pro Football Focus, graded as the highest of any tight end over the three seasons he has been in the league. He was recently ranked as the No. 7 player on the NFL’s top 100 list.
For fantasy purposes this cements Kittle’s standing as the No. 1 tight end in dynasty, and drafters are splitting hairs between Kittle and Kelce in redraft formats. Both have been top 3 options for the past two seasons and there’s no reason to expect that to change. Either are worth taking in the second-round of drafts due to the positional advantage they provide and could be taken in the first-round if your league works with a tight end premium format. While the touchdowns haven’t come as one may expect given the volume for Kittle, his big-play ability and high snap counts make up for it tenfold.
Congratulations, Kittle. You’ve earned it.