Kittle's agent doesn't believe the existing tight end market is relevant to his client's next contract, ESPN.com reports. The agent, Jack Bechta, makes a reasonable point, considering Kittle's combination of receiving and blocking skill hasn't been seen in the NFL since Rob Gronkowski's prime. Travis Kelce is the closest thing to a fair comparison right now, but he signed a five-year, $46.8 million extension four years ago and has since become one of the top bargains in the league for his team. Entering the fourth and final season his his rookie contract, Kittle can make a case for the same type of money that's recently been paid to No. 1 WRs and top pass rushers -- around $20 million per year. The 49ers do have some leverage in the form of franchise tags, an option that likely would cost $10-11 million for 2021 and $12-13 million for 2022. Of course, it's also an option that likely would led to a holdout, and potentially hostility between player and team.
Kittle said Wednesday that he doesn't expect to undergo any offseason surgeries, Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com reports. Kittle toughed it out through a number of injuries during the past season -- including a torn labrum in his right shoulder that's bothered him since the 2018 preseason -- but he anticipates requiring "just rehab" to get healthy this offseason. Coming off back-to-back years of at least 80 catches, 1,000 yards and five touchdowns, the 26-year-old tight end's priority will be getting back to 100 percent health in time to kick off the 2020 campaign. Kittle is expected to be a full participant in both OTAs and training camp.
Kittle caught four of seven targets for 36 yards during Sunday's 31-20 Super Bowl loss to the Chiefs. Kittle, who has played through a torn labrum in his right shoulder since the 2018 preseason, was held to a modest receiving line for the third time in as many playoff games. Over the 49ers' last three contests, the star tight end compiled just eight catches for 71 yards without a touchdown -- a shocking contrast compared to his regular-season production, as Kittle logged 85 catches for 1,053 yards and five touchdowns across 14 such games. The 26-year-old will benefit from a full offseason to get healthy, and he remains a virtual lock to enter the 2020 season among the coveted top tier of fantasy tight ends despite coming off a quiet postseason stretch.
Kittle relayed during a recent podcast that he's played the past two seasons with a torn labrum in his right shoulder, Jeremy Bergman of NFL.com reports. Kittle opened preseason 2018 by separating his shoulder, which sidelined him for the rest of that exhibition season. However, he's avoided being listed on the injury report with 'shoulder' next to his name in the meantime and doesn't intend to have surgery to address it. Instead, Kittle tended to a myriad of other health concerns in the 2019 campaign, namely a lingering ankle issue that sidelined him Weeks 10 and 11. Despite the compromised health, he's totaled 173 catches (on 243 targets) for 2,430 yards and 10 TDs in his last 30 regular-season games, but only a 4-35-0 line on six targets in two playoff contests to date. He'll look to reverse the recent trend in the Super Bowl against a Chiefs defense that gave up the second-most receptions (98) to tight ends in 2019.
Kittle (ankle) caught his lone target for 19 yards in Sunday's 37-20 victory over Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game. Kittle was held out of practice until Thursday due to his lingering ankle injury, but it didn't appear to limit the star tight end in the run game, as he did his usual man-handling of defensive assignments to help Raheem Mostert rush for 220 yards and four scores. San Francisco threw the ball just eight times while playing with a big lead all game, resulting in the disappointing stat line from the 26-year-old. Kittle played through broken ribs for nearly the entire 2018 season, and he has been playing with a bone chip in his ankle since Week 12 of the regular season, so those deploying him in DFS formats shouldn't be concerned with his ability to get through a game. Game script is what Kittle backers need to worry about, but that may be less of a concern with the high-octane Chiefs set to oppose the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV in two weeks.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|2||09/20||@New York Jets||4||5.13|
|3||09/27||@New York Giants||25||8.00|
|6||10/19||Los Angeles Rams||20||7.25|
|7||10/25||@New England Patriots||12||6.35|
|9||11/06||Green Bay Packers||14||6.78|
|10||11/15||@New Orleans Saints||8||6.12|
|12||11/29||@Los Angeles Rams||20||7.25|
|3 Year Avg||102||72||982||4||45||13.64||123|