Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports


Rapoport explains why George Kittle seeking wide receiver money from 49ers would be ‘an uphill battle’

Jun 19, 2020 at 10:46 AM--


There is no doubt in NFL Insider Ian Rapoport's mind that George Kittle will eventually become the highest-paid tight end in NFL history. That hasn't happened yet because talks between Kittle and the San Francisco 49ers have stalled.

While Kittle plays the tight end position, he is so much more. He is the 49ers' best receiver and one of their best blockers. Kittle can do it all, so he and his agent aren't using the tight end market to determine his value.

Some have speculated that Kittle's agent could be seeking a contract that is somewhere between offensive linemen and wide receiver money. That would put Kittle around $18 million annually, which would be $6.5 million more than the highest-paid tight end.

Some wonder if Kittle's camp is seeking even more than that.

Rapoport, who joined 95.7 The Game on Thursday, can't envision that scenario coming to fruition.

"I get it. He is a very willing blocker," Rapoport told Damon Bruce, Ray Ratto, and Matt Kolsky. "Actually, he's developed into a great blocker. But he's also one of the best receivers in the NFL, so I'm sure he'll want to get paid [like] that.

"The problem is, that argument, historically, getting paid like a position that you are not, has not worked. It's the same one Le'Veon Bell wanted to make when he was trying to get paid like a top slot receiver and a running back.

"It might be true, and I think it is true. George Kittle deserves all the money. He is a great player. It's just, historically, it's an uphill battle to make that argument. So I do think he'll be incredibly well-paid. I just don't think it will be $20 million."


Rapoport also notes that an unpredictable 2020 season for the NFL could be impacting what teams are willing to spend on players. Will the NFL feature fans in stadiums? Will the season need to be shortened? Will it happen at all? There are too many uncertainties, which could all impact future salary caps.

"If the season happens as we think it will, which is in its entirety, but with no or limited fans, it would mainly be next year's salary cap that would be affected by that," Rapoport said. "And the NFL and the NFLPA would have to get together and see if they can figure out how to smooth those numbers over."





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