Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Silver reports a ‘pretty significant disconnect’ on contract negotiations between 49ers and George Kittle

Jul 31, 2020 at 11:22 AM--

The San Francisco 49ers are hoping to sign tight end George Kittle to a long-term extension. The two sides don't sound as though they are very close in the negotiation process, however.

NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported earlier this week that the 49ers and Kittle's camp are not "particularly close on anything."

Mike Silver of NFL Network seems to be hearing the same thing and on Friday provided an update on Kittle's contract situation.

"There remains a pretty significant disconnect philosophically between the 49ers and George Kittle's camp. The 49ers believe they want to reset the tight end market and give him a great tight end deal. And Kittle's kind of saying, 'I think I'm more than just a tight end.'"

Silver notes that there hasn't been a significant change in the tight end market for some time with the highest-paid players earning less than $11 million annually. Kittle and his agent hope to change that.

"If you look at him as a tight end, yeah, George Kittle could reset the market," Silver continued. "But George Kittle, who was just voted the seventh-best player in the league by his peers, and in my opinion, has earned that distinction, is thinking, I don't want to be called a tight end for the purpose of these negotiations."

Kittle is scheduled to earn $2.133 million in 2020, the final year of his rookie deal. Steve Wyche asked Silver if he feels Kittle will play under those terms should negotiations stall.

"Because of the unique offseason, there's a little time to figure this out," Silver responded. "But if I'm George Kittle, I'm wondering, with the opt-out deadline coming up as early as August 7, depending on when the new deal gets signed, do I want to play for $2.133 million, [which would be] severely undervalued during a pandemic? Or do I want to take $150,000 and live to fight another year?

"I don't think it's come to that yet, but if I'm George Kittle, those thoughts are starting to form in my mind."

Kittle has indicated that he doesn't plan to hold out during the negotiation process.

"Being a captain, I want to be there for my team, and I need to show the right leadership skills," Kittle told NBC Sports Bay Area earlier this month.

Kittle reported to the 49ers on Tuesday for his first COVID-19 test and is scheduled to undergo his second today. He could enter the team's facility as early as this weekend, and general manager John Lynch fully expects his All-Pro tight end to participate in training camp. He didn't, however, have a timetable on when a new deal might be finalized.

"As for a timetable, I don't have that, but George is a pro, and he's planning on coming (to training camp)," Lynch said on KNBR this week. "And we're going to continue to work. That's our job, to get that done. I'd be disappointed if we didn't. We're working towards that, and no updates, as of right now."

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