As the 49ers and star tight end George Kittle continue to work toward a long-term contract extension, San Francisco GM John Lynch told KNBR that the club expects to see the 26-year-old report to training camp on time Tuesday as veterans go through their first round of COVID-19 testing. Kittle is entering the final year of his rookie contract and the two sides have been discussing a deal that will keep him in the Bay Area beyond 2020.
"George is a pro, and he's planning on coming and we're going to continue to work," Lynch told the Murph & Mac Show, as transcribed by NBC Sports Bay Area. "That's our job, to get that done. I'd be disappointed if we didn't, so we're working towards that. I can tell you we're working in earnest because it's very important to us, and the good news is it's very important to them that we agree because he loves being a 49er."
Rumblings surrounding a mega-extension for Kittle have been around dating back to Super Bowl Sunday when reports surfaced that it was the 49ers' intention to make him the highest-paid tight end in the league. More recently, reports have bubbled up to the surface that suggest Kittle could earn a contract that pays him $13 million annually, which would dwarf Austin Hooper's current AAV with the Browns of $10.5 million, which is the league-high at the position. Currently, Kittle is slated to make just over $2.1 million in base salary for 2020 with the 49ers.
Kittle is easily one of the top two tight ends in the league, if not the best of the bunch at the position. In 2018, he broke the single-season record for most receiving yards (1,377) by a tight end in NFL history. He just posted back-to-back seasons with over 1,000 yards receiving and was named first-team All-Pro for his efforts in 2019.
Lynch noted that he's been in close contact with Kittle's agent, Jack Bechta, and the coaching staff has spoken with Kittle regularly.
"We're hopeful," Lynch said of getting a deal done. "We're going to work extremely hard. George is such a great fit for what we do. He's a tremendous player. (I'm) sitting here looking at the vision statement for what we want in a player, and George checks every box. He's tremendous. He's what we want to be. So I think it would be silly not to figure that out, so we're going to do our best to do just that."