Despite his massive contract extension two offseasons ago, 49ers tight end George Kittle will still be relatively affordable this upcoming 2022 season.
The San Francisco 49ers haven’t been shy about rewarding their top players.
An offseason ago, the Niners re-signed perennial Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams to a massive free-agent contract, and they also ensured All-Pro linebacker Fred Warner wasn’t going away, inking him to a hefty extension, too.
Same with All-Pro tight end George Kittle, only his came the year before.
Kittle and Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce helped redefine the market for the position when their new deals were announced, yet only a handful of tight ends across the NFL come close to engineering the same sort of prowess both have on the field.
And while Kittle might not have the pure stat lines Kelce gets on a yearly basis, some would argue Kittle is far more rounded a player.
Regardless, and despite Kittle’s five-year, $75 million extension signed in early 2020, he’s not going to hit San Francisco too hard in the pocketbook this upcoming season.
That’s great news for a 49ers team with under $2 million in available cap space, according to Over the Cap.
George Kittle will still be affordable for 49ers in 2022
One of the reasons why Kittle will be relatively cheap in 2022 is because of the recent restructure both he and defensive tackle Arik Armstead, another top-paid Niners player, had on their respective deals to help San Francisco get underneath the $208.2 million salary cap at the start of the league new year.
By converting over $10 million of his owed salary this season into a signing bonus and adding on a void year in 2026, the 49ers salary cap freed up over $8 million in additional space.
As such, Kittle’s cap hits through the remainder of his current contract are as follows:
- 2022: $7,679,765
- 2023: $18,383,000
- 2024: $20,133,000
- 2025: $17,533,000
- 2026 (void): $2,083,000
It doesn’t take a math genius to realize Kittle’s cap hit increases significantly a year from now, though. Currently accounting for only 3.6 percent of the Niners’ 2021 salary cap, that percentage jumps to a sizable 8.2 percent in 2023.
Fortunately for San Francisco, and likely part of the plan to restructure his contract, the 2023 salary cap is expected to increase a lot in the wake of anticipated new television and gambling deals across the nation, thereby increasing the NFL’s revenue stream.
For now, though, Kittle remains relatively cheap in contrast to other top-paid offensive weapons around the league.
The 49ers need it that way.