49ers All-Pro George Kittle could get even better in 2020

George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers.(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers.(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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George Kittle, 49ers
SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 22: George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers warms up prior to the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Levi’s Stadium on September 22, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images) /

Why George Kittle regresses with 49ers in 2020

It’s hard to find or argue serious, substantiated reasons why George Kittle would actually go through regression in 2020.

True, there’s always the injury concern. And Kittle has dealt with those a bit during his still-young career. It’s one thing to recover and/or play with injuries as a young player. But Kittle will turn 27 years old this upcoming season, and one doesn’t need to be a medical expert to determine the body experiences more difficulty recovering from injury as it ages.

Aside from that, however, what would be some reasons why Kittle’s numbers and overall impact take a hit?

A possible issue could be Kittle’s contract status. He’s entering a contract year and is set to make a little over $2.2 million in 2020. When looking solely at the Niners’ other tight end contracts on an average annual value, Kittle is almost providing his All-Pro talents for a bargain-basement price:

Could this be a distraction if Kittle and the 49ers aren’t able to negotiate what promises to be a lucrative extension in the near future? Perhaps. That’s certainly something worth monitoring between now and whenever Kittle inks a new contract, hopefully with San Francisco.

The only other plausible reason Kittle could regress statistically would be due to the Niners’ other questions on the roster, namely at wide receiver. The 49ers recently lost wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Richie James to injuries, which could prevent them from being available early this season. In turn, that puts more pressure on unproven and/or less-used wideouts like Kendrick Bourne, Trent Taylor and the first-round rookie, Brandon Aiyuk.

If these receivers fail to provide a secondary option for San Francisco’s offense, Kittle will no doubt draw plenty of attention and could see a hit in his overall numbers as a result.