San Francisco 49ers: 3 ramifications of George Kittle extension

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George Kittle, 49ers

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

The 49ers and tight end George Kittle agreed to a lucrative five-year contract extension, yet it still creates some complications for the Niners.

On Thursday, news broke the San Francisco 49ers and superstar tight end George Kittle were wrapping up what was to become a five-year, $75 million contract extension, keeping the 2019 first-team All-Pro in the Bay Area through 2025.

The news put an end to an offseason-long standoff between the Niners front office and Kittle’s camp, which had more than enough difficulty determining Kittle’s value to the team, both with regards to the tight end market and what he brings to the team.

Needless to say, Kittle’s new contract shatters the previous market for tight ends. Cleveland Browns tight end Austin Hooper recorded an annual average value of $10.5 million, and now Kittle is going to be receiving $15 million annually.

$40 million of that is guaranteed.

Extending Kittle was a no-brainer. He’s easily the team’s top offensive weapon, and not just for his pass-catching abilities. Kittle also sells tickets, merchandise and gives San Francisco plenty of much-needed star power.

But there are going to be ramifications, especially in uncertain coming years where the COVID-19 pandemic has already created unknown problems for the NFL revenue stream and forthcoming salary caps. Already in 2021, the cap is expected to drop from the near-$200 million down to $175 million.

The final details of Kittle’s contract aren’t yet known, and one might bank on the 49ers delaying some of Kittle’s cap hits could be delayed into years beyond 2021, essentially putting off some of the could-be financial problems.

Yet with the Niners already pressed up against the cap entering 2020, these three potential factors could be some significant hurdles general manager John Lynch and Co. have to overcome.

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