5 contracts holding the 49ers back right now

The 49ers' top contracts aren't all bad deals, per se. But they're certainly limiting what John Lynch will be able to do this offseason.

San Francisco 49ers left tackle Trent Williams (L) and wide receiver Deebo Samuel (R)
San Francisco 49ers left tackle Trent Williams (L) and wide receiver Deebo Samuel (R) / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages
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No. 4: Tight end George Kittle

2024 salary cap hit: $21,956,575

George Kittle re-solidified his reputation as the top tight end in the game by taking home first-team All-Pro honors for the second time in his career while getting above the 1,000-yard receiving plateau for the first time since 2019.

Plus, as a team captain and emotional leader, it's hard to envision this fan-favorite playing anywhere else but with the Niners.

But 2023 was the last season in which he was relatively affordable, making less than $10 million, previously. Now, in 2024, his cap hit jumps to nearly $22 million, and he'll be above $19 million in 2025, too.

That number for 2024 isn't far off the kind of money dedicated to top wide receivers, and while it's fair to argue whether or not elite tight ends should be paid as much as top wideouts, it's also fair to acknowledge that Kittle's pending paycheck needs to result in him being a No. 1-type of weapon for San Francisco's offense.

Turning 31 years old this upcoming season, that might be hard to do.