George Kittle

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/5/20

Here are Thursday’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: LB Matt Judon

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Las Vegas Raiders

Minnesota Vikings

  • Signed off Raiders’ practice squad: CB Dylan Mabin

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: S Marcus Epps; Epps tested positive for the coronavirus but is believed to be asymptomatic, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link)

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

George Kittle, Jimmy Garoppolo Both To Miss Extended Time

The 49ers just can’t seem to catch a break. Already one of the most banged up teams in the league, San Francisco will now be without two of their most important pieces moving forward.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo aggravated the high ankle sprain that has been bothering him for weeks during their loss to the Seahawks Sunday and is expected to miss “an extended period of time,” sources told Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link). Meanwhile Kittle has a “small fracture” in his foot and will also miss extended time, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets. Garoppolo is expected to be out a minimum of six weeks and “possibly longer” if he ends up needing surgery, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

In a follow-up tweet, Rapoport noted that it’s unclear if Kittle will be able to return this season. Either way, it sounds like both are headed for a stint on injured reserve (minimum three-game absences). Kittle is expected to be out eight weeks, Schefter tweets. It would be hard for things to be much worse from an injury standpoint for the defending NFC champions right now.

The 49ers have already dealt with significant injuries to key players like Nick Bosa, Deebo Samuel, Raheem Mostert, Richard Sherman, and many others. Nick Mullens played well in relief of Jimmy G agains Seattle and will presumably start moving forward, although he was temporarily replaced by C.J. Beathard as the number two a couple of weeks ago.

Kittle is one of the league’s best players and critical in both the run and pass games. He missed a couple of contests earlier this year with a knee injury. The NFC West is tougher than ever, and at 4-4 San Fran is in danger of slipping out of the playoff race. Their trade of Kwon Alexander for a draft pick Monday could signal they realize 2020 isn’t their year. Kyle Shanahan has gotten it done under bad circumstances in the past, but he really has his work cut out for him now.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

George Kittle, Jimmy Garoppolo To Miss Week 3

The 49ers will be starting backups at nearly every non-offensive line position on offense against the Giants on Sunday. Despite George Kittle getting in three limited practices this week, the 49ers will hold their All-Pro tight end out.

Same goes for Jimmy Garoppolo, though San Francisco’s staring quarterback did not practice this week. The 49ers will play a game without their starting quarterback, their top two running backs from Super Bowl LIV, their No. 1 wide receiver and their recently extended tight end.

Kittle is on his way back from a knee sprain, and the three limited practices point to the 49ers having him ready to go against the Eagles in Week 4. But the 27-year-old star pass catcher will miss two games for a second straight season.

Nick Mullens will start for Garoppolo, who ended up receiving better-than-expected news about his high ankle sprain, and a currently healthy Jordan Reed will line up as the 49ers’ first-string tight end at the same MetLife Stadium venue that further depleted the team’s depth chart.

The list of would-be 49ers starters/key contributors who will not be in uniform against the Giants: Garoppolo, Kittle, Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, Deebo Samuel, Weston Richburg, Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, Solomon Thomas, Dre Greenlaw and Richard Sherman.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Rumors: Adams, 49ers, Godwin, Penny

George Kittle played through an injury last season, earning Pro Bowl honors despite dealing with a labrum tear. Just prior to Sunday’s Jets game, the 49ers tight end — who suffered an MCL sprain in Week 1 — was believed to be on track to return in Week 3, per ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter. But considering the injury issues the 49ers had on the MetLife Stadium turf, which caused gripes from several San Francisco players, this might not still be the case. Kyle Shanahan said he will take the field conditions — when the 49ers return to MetLife to play the Giants — into account when determining Kittle’s Week 3 availability, per NBC Sports Bay Area’s Jennifer Lee Chan.

Let’s take a look at the latest from the NFC, including news on a few more Pro Bowlers’ respective Week 3 statuses:

  • The 49ers will be down to just three first-round defensive linemen against the Giants. After losing Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas for the season, the 49ers ruled out Dee Ford for a second straight week. Ford, who has suffered a litany of maladies since being traded to San Francisco, has no return timetable, according to Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). The seventh-year defensive end is currently down with a neck injury, but Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes this has morphed into a back problem (subscription required). Ziggy Ansah serves as the third ex-first-rounder, having signed with the 49ers this week.
  • The Packers appear to have ruled out a long-term absence for top wideout Davante Adams. The standout receiver’s hamstring injury is considered minor, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Adams is not a lock to face the Saints in Week 3, however. Matt LaFleur halted Adams from returning to action Sunday and may play the long game with Aaron Rodgers‘ top weapon.
  • Good news for the Buccaneers. Chris Godwin figures to be back in uniform Sunday against the Broncos. The Pro Bowl wide receiver cleared the team’s concussion protocol early this week.
  • Pete Carroll indicated Rashaad Penny is ahead of schedule in his ACL rehab, via Brandon Gustafson of 710 AM ESPN Radio Seattle, predicting the third-year running back may well beat a perceived midseason return window. The longtime Seahawks coach, however, generally leans toward optimism regarding his players’ recoveries. That should probably be factored into this assessment. Penny resides on Seattle’s PUP list and cannot make his 2020 debut until at least Week 7. With Chris Carson in a contract year and Carlos Hyde on a one-year deal, how Penny performs in his return from injury figures to be pivotal for the Seahawks’ long-term running back plan.
  • Down Tevin Coleman and likely to be without Raheem Mostert in Week 3, the 49ers brought in three running backs for a Tuesday workout. Paul Perkins, Karan Higdon and Austin Walter are auditioning for the 49ers, Pelissero notes (on Twitter). Perkins was a former Giants fifth-round pick but has not eclipsed 100 rushing yards in a season since 2016.

NFC West Rumors: 49ers, Hopkins, Rams

Hit hard by injuries this summer, the 49ers‘ passing attack will be a shell of its optimal version Sunday. The 49ers declared George Kittle out Friday with a sprained knee. Kittle will not travel with the team to New York but will instead meet his teammates in West Virginia, where the 49ers will practice next week in between their road tilts against the Jets and Giants, Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com tweets. While the 49ers are expected to have first-round pick Brandon Aiyuk make his NFL debut, being down Kittle and top wideout Deebo Samuel (on IR) will not make matters easy for Jimmy Garoppolo.

Here is the latest from the NFC West:

  • DeAndre Hopkins signed a lucrative two-year, $54MM add-on with the Cardinals add-on recently. He will go from earning $26MM through 2021 on his previous deal to making $42.75MM — all fully guaranteed — in that span, according to Albert Breer of SI.com (on Twitter). Hopkins’ $6.65MM 2022 base salary vests in March 2021, Breer adds. Signed through 2024, Hopkins will receive $60.1MM over the deal’s first three years — up from the $39.1MM he would have collected under the terms of his Texans-constructed contract. The final two years of Hopkins’ new deal — 2023 and ’24 — are option years, Breer adds (via Twitter).
  • Despite eating a stunning $21.8MM in dead money from their Brandin Cooks trade, the Rams dived back into the fray of high-end receiver contracts. Their three-year, $47.25MM Cooper Kupp deal includes $35.1MM guaranteed and $20.3MM in full guarantees, according to OverTheCap. Woods’ four-year, $65MM pact, which comes with $32MM guaranteed, will only pay him $4.5MM over the next two years — which were part of his previous Rams contract. However, the deal’s first new year (2022) comes with $13.5MM, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
  • More injury trouble for Dee Ford. The 49ers pass rusher is now battling a neck issue and is questionable for Sunday’s game. Ford, who did not practice this week, has run into extensive injury trouble during his time with the 49ers. He played through knee, quad and hamstring issues in 2019 and missed time during camp with a calf malady. The 49ers restructured Ford’s contract to create cap space; the move will make it more difficult for the team to cut or trade Ford in 2021.
  • Mohamed Sanu‘s 49ers deal is worth a tad more than the veteran minimum. The former Bengals, Falcons and Patriots wideout signed a one-year pact worth around $1.125MM, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets, adding that Sanu will receive a $137.5K bonus — despite being an in-season addition. Although the 31-year-old target struggled to assimilate in New England, he played under Kyle Shanahan with the 2016 Falcons.
  • The Seahawks are still on the lookout for pass-rushing help. The team brought in former Chiefs second-round edge rusher Breeland Speaks for a recent workout, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. A 2018 draftee, Speaks could not make the Chiefs’ 53-man roster. He missed all of last season due to injury.

49ers, TE George Kittle Agree To Extension

The 49ers and tight end George Kittle are in agreement on a five-year, $75MM extension, as Ian Rapoport and Michael Silver of NFL.com report (via Twitter). Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area reports that $30MM is guaranteed at signing — including an $18MM signing bonus — and there are $40MM in total guarantees (Twitter link).

We had been hearing that this deal was expected to come together shortly, and that it would completely reset the tight end market. And it has done just that, as Kittle’s $15MM average annual value far outpaces the $10.5MM figure that Austin Hooper received just this year from the Browns. It also represents something of a halfway point between the former top of the TE market and the top of the WR market.

Still, given Kittle’s dominance as a receiver and blocker, there was plenty of speculation that his payday would come in a little higher. Indeed, some were projecting a six-year pact worth close to $100MM, but the 49ers managed to give out a historic contract while staying in their comfort zone. Kittle’s deal places him 12th among all pass catchers, as Matt Barrows of The Athletic observes (via Twitter), though the guaranteed money is definitely a win for Kittle.

Since 2017, Kittle has recorded 2,945 receiving yards, the most of any tight end in his first three seasons. And, since 2018, Kittle’s had 1,464 yards after the catch, more than any other player in the league not named Christian McCaffrey. He earned his second straight Pro Bowl bid in 2019 and his first (but probably not only) First Team All-Pro selection. The advanced metrics love him just as much, as the Iowa product graded out as Pro Football Focus’ highest-rated player at any position last year.

In short, the 26-year-old (27 in October) has established himself as one of the best offensive weapons in the game, and with WR1 Deebo Samuel expected to miss time with a foot injury, San Francisco may be leaning on Kittle even more heavily to start the 2020 season. The team may now turn its attention to other 2021 free agents like Kyle Juszczyk and Richard Sherman.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers, George Kittle Progressing On Deal

Aug. 13: Ian Rapoport and Michael Silver of NFL.com report that Kittle and the Niners are “closing in” on the extension, which sounds as though it could be finalized in the next day or two (Twitter link).

Aug. 12: George Kittle chimed in on his contract situation with the 49ers, shooting down a report that he had agreed to an extension (Twitter link). But the sides are hitting checkpoints as they work toward what will be a monster re-up.

The All-Pro tight end and the 49ers have made “healthier progress” on an extension agreement, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. This deal is expected to make Kittle the NFL’s highest-paid tight end by a significant margin. This has long been the expectation, with the tight end market barely moving over the past five years and Kittle emerging as one of the NFL’s best players over the past two.

Austin Hooper‘s $10.5MM-per-year Browns deal currently stands as the top tight end contract, though Hunter Henry‘s franchise tag came in at $10.6MM. Pro Football Focus’ top-graded player in 2019, Kittle has established himself on a higher tier than those two and almost every other active tight end. His 49ers extension is expected to bridge the gap between tight ends and higher-end wide receivers.

Earlier this week, Kittle’s agent, Jack Bechta, said progress remained elusive in his talks with the 49ers (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Michael Silver). But teams are set to begin full training camp workouts in less than a week. That will increase the risk Kittle takes by practicing under the terms of his fifth-round rookie contract. The star tight end is set to make barely $2MM in base salary this season.

With Deebo Samuel expected to miss time with a foot injury, the 49ers can be expected to lean heavier on Kittle. The Iowa product, who will turn 27 in October, has combined for 2,430 yards and 10 touchdowns over the past two seasons and has proven to be an elite run-blocking presence as well. It should be expected that Kittle’s deal will help pave the way for fellow All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce and Pro Bowler Zach Ertz to sign lucrative third contracts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On 49ers, George Kittle

The 49ers and George Kittle have kicked off extension talks, but there’s still a major gap to bridge, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). As it stands, the league’s best tight end is set to enter the final year of his contract with just $2.133MM in base pay. 

Since 2017, Kittle has recorded 2,945 receiving yards, the most of any tight end in their first three seasons – and that’s just in the regular season. And, since 2018, Kittle’s had 1,464 yards after the catch, more than any other player in the league not named Christian McCaffrey. With that in mind Kittle’s agent says that he’s not viewing the current tight end market as the comp for his client. Instead, he’s taking a page from McCaffrey’s camp – he wants a deal that reflects Kittle’s value as the NFL’s No. 1 TE, plus a little extra. In essence, Kittle puts up numbers like a supreme tight end and a WR2, all wrapped into one.

Last year, the 49ers watched Raheem Mostert enjoy a breakout season, thanks in part to Kittle’s blocking and looming aerial threat. Mostert led the team with 772 rushing yards and paced all running backs with 5.6 per carry, numbers that lifted him to a short-term pay bump earlier this week. In Kittle’s 14 games last year, SF averaged 4.83 yards per carry and tallied 23 rushing touchdowns. In the two games he missed, 49ers running backs averaged just 2.63 yards per attempt with zero scores.

We’ve seen fewer big-money deals than usual this offseason, but Kittle’s camp won’t necessarily take the pandemic as an excuse. In the last two weeks, Joey Bosa and Myles Garrett have inked eight-figure deals, so the pressure is on John Lynch & Co. to get something done. Kittle’s asking price is believed to be much higher than Austin Hooper‘s $10.5MM/year watermark; possibly in the $18MM/year range.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers, George Kittle Far Apart In Talks

The 49ers and George Kittle have begun extension talks, but they’ve got a ways to go. Kittle’s agent Jack Bechta says there’s a major gap to bridge and, perhaps, some fundamental disagreement over how Kittle should be viewed.

[RELATED: Dee Ford Underwent Knee Surgery]

I don’t care about the tight end market, I’m being paid to do a George Kittle deal,” Bechta said.

Since 2017, Kittle has amassed 2,945 receiving yards, the most of any tight end in their first three seasons – and that’s not counting the playoffs. And, since 2018, Kittle’s had 1,464 yards after the catch, more than any other player in the league not named Christian McCaffrey.

Meanwhile, Kittle’s blocking has been a game-changer for the 49ers’ run game. In Kittle’s 14 games last year, SF averaged 4.83 yards per carry and tallied 23 rushing touchdowns. In the two games he missed, 49ers running backs averaged just 2.63 yards per try with no TDs.

With that in mind, Bechta is aiming higher than Austin Hooper‘s four-year, $42MM deal with the Browns. Instead, Kittle’s agent is using the wide receiver and left tackle markets as comps to reflect his client’s value. Kittle, 27 in October, doesn’t have to settle for “tight end money” in exchange for his prime seasons. Instead, he could land something in the neighborhood of $18MM per year with a larger guaranteed portion than Hooper, who has just over 50% of his deal truly locked in.

The 49ers appreciate Kittle’s value and they’ve made his extension a priority, so we still expect a deal to come together. However, it may take a bit longer than expected for them to meet in the middle.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC West Notes: 49ers, Kittle, Seahawks

The 49ers already know that they want to keep George Kittle for the long haul, but they also know that it won’t come cheap. Kittle is on course to become the league’s highest-paid tight end of all-time. As Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com explains, Kittle’s value goes beyond the gaudy yardage and touchdown totals.

In Kittle’s 14 games last year, the Niners averaged 4.83 yards per carry and tallied 23 TDs on the ground. Without him? They averaged just 2.63 yards per carry with zero rushing scores.

What’s amazing about him is what he does in the running game,” former NFL GM Mike Tannenbaum said. “He’s a dominant blocker and he’s been dynamic in the passing game. He’s a rare weapon that I think is more valuable than just a regular tight end because he can block so effectively.”

Then, of course, there are the obvious drivers behind Kittle’s value. Since 2017, Kittle has amassed 2,945 receiving yards, the most of any TE inside of their first three pro campaigns. in NFL history. And, in the past two seasons, he’s totaled 1,464 yards after the catch, good for No. 2 in the league.

It’s pretty much a given that Kittle will top Hunter Henry‘s $10.6MM average annual value, as well as Austin Hooper‘s four-year, $42MM watermark for the largest total contract among TEs. How much further will it go? Wagoner expects Kittle and the Niners to settle for a four-year deal in the range of $68MM-$72MM with roughly $40MM in guarantees.

Here’s more from the NFC West: