Could George Kittle contract extension with 49ers average $20 million per year?

NFL top 100 players: George Kitle
Jan 19, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) reacts against the Green Bay Packers during the first half in the NFC Championship Game at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers have one of the best players in the NFL. To keep George Kittle long term, they may have to pay him like one, too.

Daniel Jeremiah: George Kittle’s new contract could be close to $20 million per year

Speaking about Kittle on NFL Network recently, former scout Daniel Jeremiah shared a stunning revelation about where Kittle’s contract talks might be headed.

“I think he’s gonna find his way closer to 20 (million) than he’s gonna be closer to 15 (million),” Jeremiah said. “Because there’s hybrids, guys that can do a lot of different things and that’s the word we’ve used here with George Kittle, but then there’s another level, I just call him a unicorn.”

Speaking to the “unicorn” notion, Jeremiah elaborated:

“There’s nobody else like him in the NFL, he is one of one, that can do everything he does at the level at which he does it. That to me makes him, in my opinion, the most valuable 49er on that team. He’s 26 years old, he’s got high character, he’s a leader, these are the guys you are ok with maybe paying a little bit more than you’d want to.”

George Kittle is better than his stats

Kittle really is a unique player. He is better than most left tackles at dominating defenders in the run game. Not only that, but he’s so good he can afford to literally laugh at guys he’s taking down with pancakes.

When it comes to pure stats, Kittle shows himself to be among the league’s best. The two seasons, he’s racked up 173 catches for 2,430 yards and 10 touchdowns. He’s one of the NFL’s best after the catch and has become a player nobody wants to tackle.

But due to his prowess in the run game, Kittle is even better than his stats show.

49ers and Kittle not close to a contract

Given the fact that Austin Hooper is earning $10.5 per year on his deal — the biggest long-term deal in the NFL now — it would be stunning if Kittle got anything close to $20 million per year. However, his agent is making it abundantly clear that he’s not looking for a tight end contract. Instead, he’s working for a George Kittle contract.

That’s why the 49ers and Kittle are reportedly far apart on any long-term deal. It’s worth noting that general manager John Lynch has made it clear he has no intention of letting the dynamic tight end leave the franchise.

If Kittle doesn’t land a long-term contract before the 2020 season, he’ll earn just over $2.1 million playing out the final year of his rookie deal.