The San Francisco 49ers are coming off an impressive 2019 campaign that reasserted the franchise among the NFL’s elite teams. The 49ers have constructed a promising roster that could continue to remain a huge factor in the NFC for years to come. With that in mind, Hall of Famer Steve Young has voiced that the team will need to shell out a historic deal soon.
49ers return to NFL prominence
The 49ers headed into the 2019 season, hoping to take a notable step forward, and it was much more than that.
San Francisco zoomed through the first half of the season, where they were the last undefeated team in the league.They guided their way toward the best mark in the NFC behind their stout defense and a balanced offense led by their running game. They put forth an impressive push to the Super Bowl after dominating wins over the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers.
The 49ers were virtually one quarter away from winning their sixth Super Bowl in franchise history. It was a disappointing end to their impressive campaign, but shouldn’t overlook them being back among the league’s top teams. The front office has put together a talented roster with a healthy mixture of veteran and young talent.
That territory comes the necessity to pony up the money to keep players in the fold for the long haul.
Steve Young believes 49ers must give George Kittle historic deal
The 49ers continue to secure their long-term future, which the next step centers on a new deal for star tight end George Kittle.
The 26-year-old is heading into the final year of his rookie deal that will pay him $735,000. With that in mind, Hall of Famer Steve Young stated on the Tolbert, Krueger and Brooks Show that San Francisco must pay him like a wide receiver. (H/T Alex Didion of NBC Sports)
“I don’t really care what position, I don’t really care what tight ends make or wide receivers make,” Young said. “Just the importance that he has to the team is incredible, and no matter how you cut the data, it’s proven. George Kittle is one of the most talented players in the league, and most productive.
“So then, they’re gonna have to pay him as a wide receiver. They’re gonna have to, and George knows that. The problem is, there might be a hybrid. I agree that he’s not going to necessarily make every dollar that a wide receiver makes, but he’s not going to get trapped into the tight end spot.”
Kittle’s agent has already voiced his client is looking to become highest-paid tight end in the league. The tight end position has been capped in that regard for several years. Austin Hooper is the latest to raise it with his four-year, $42 million with the Cleveland Browns this offseason that put him at $10.5 million a year.
It passed the previous high that was set by Travis Kelce at roughly $9.3 million annually in his five-year, $46.8 million contract. The 49ers know what lies ahead to keep Kittle for the long haul.
Writing is on the wall
It has become more apparent the 49ers must shell out a massive payday to retain George Kittle for the long haul.
If Steve Young’s comments proved anything is that Kittle’s next deal must reset the tight end market altogether. That means giving him wide receiver money, something that both Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham were unable to accomplish.
Kittle holds the all-time mark for a tight end with 1,377 receiving yards in the regular season. He also holds the league record with 870 receiving yards after the catch and the most receiving yards by a tight end through their first three years (2,945). Kittle broke the 49ers record by becoming the first tight end to notch 1,000 receiving yards in a single season.
Kittle is a bonafide star in the prime of his career. He is both a significant asset in the passing game and as a blocker in the running game. It’s on the 49ers to give him the contract his play deserves.