San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers recognize how important All-Pro tight end George Kittle is to their offense and are hopeful for a contract extension. If the 49ers want to keep Kittle beyond the 2020 season, they better be prepared to break the bank.

Kittle, 26, is entering the final year of his rookie contract and is owed $2.13 million this year before hitting free agency. Coming off an ALl-Pro season and recognized as one fo the best players in the league, Kittle could be on the verge of changing the game for tight ends.

Latest on George Kittle’s contract talks with San Francisco 49ers

While the 49ers might be expressing confidence about their chances of signing Kittle to a long-term deal, negotiations don’t seem to be going well. The two sides are not close on their offers and even Kittle’s teammates are shading the organization over the contract situation.

Many have long expected Kittle to reset the market for tight ends. While salaries at other positions skyrocket, tight ends have barely seen their contracts move up at a time when the NFL’s salary cap kept soaring.

According to The Athletic’s Jay Glazer, that’s about to change. When Kittle eventually signs his next contract, it’s expected to “break the bank” and could blow previous figures out of the water for the position.

Currently, Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry leads the pack with his $10.7 million salary under the franchise tag. Behind him, Austin Hooper is the only other tight end making $10-plus million this season.

Whenever Kittle’s deal comes, it will change the game for his peers. While only Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce might be on Kittle’s level in terms of impact, the new deal should push salaries up for the entire position in the years to come.