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
George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

Expected role, future with 49ers in 2020 and beyond

George Kittle is one of those generational talents who don’t come around very often, and the 49ers would be foolish to let him slip through their grasps.

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Granted, the Niners aren’t swimming in salary cap space now and will have to tread carefully with his new contract, which could be anywhere in the range between $13 million and $20 million annually.

That’s a lot of money, sure. And the 49ers already set a precedent for a willingness to move on from a player if he winds up being too expensive for the team’s long-term needs (see defensive tackle DeForest Buckner).

Still, Kittle is a cornerstone piece for head coach Kyle Shanahan and Co., and it’s pretty safe an assumption the team’s offense is infinitely better with Kittle present than it is with him not available. His two games missed last season provided the perfect example.

As far as a 2020 role is concerned, Kittle will likely remain the team’s No. 1 pass-catching threat, which serves well to help develop younger wide receivers like Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel and Jauan Jennings. With opponents’ defenses largely focusing on Kittle, one could reasonably expect those wideouts to see more one-on-one matchups and an increase in targets thrown their way.

That’s a benefit, too, showcasing Kittle’s value beyond just the traditional stats.

Next. 3 predictions for 49ers TE George Kittle in 2020. dark

Needless to say, there’s a lot on the table for Kittle this season, and few would dare challenge his importance to a Super Bowl-caliber 49ers roster heading into 2020.