49ers’ Kyle Shanahan explains anxiety over George Kittle negotiations
Tight end George Kittle recently inked five-year, $75 million extension (with $40 million guaranteed) with the San Francisco 49ers, and head coach Kyle Shanahan shared the team’s mindset in offering the hefty, yet well-deserved deal.
In Shanahan’s eyes, Kittle is the best tight end in the league, bar none. That’s why he deserves every penny of that 49ers contract.
“When you have a guy like George who is different and is special and it’s not about just being the best tight end in the NFL, it’s who he is after that,” Shanahan said, per Jake Hutchinson of 107.7 The Bone. “That, to me, makes you want to go get this stuff done when you might not actually have to right now, especially for a guy like that. He’s earned it. He does everything the right way.”
Kittle was actually the 146th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Shanahan was surprised that Kittle was still there for the 49ers during the third round. Shanahan revealed that the team had other needs. But come the fifth round, they were surprised Kittle was still there.
“But the fact that he was still there and how high we were on him from me to [Jon] Embree, our tight end coach, to [John] Lynch and Adam Peters and everyone upstairs to Mike McDaniel from a run game standpoint, and then all our skill guys. I mean we all loved the guy and when he was sitting there in the fifth, even though we thought to go different directions, we couldn’t pass up on him because we saw him as a third-round prospect and we felt so lucky to get him in the fifth. Now I look back and, you know, he’s a top-10 prospect that we got in the fifth, so it was a hell of a deal.”
It was a good deal indeed for the 49ers. In three years in the NFL, Kittle has been selected to two Pro Bowls, was a First-Team All-Pro in 2019, and Second-team All-Pro in 2018. He was also recently voted him the seventh-best overall player on the NFL Top 100.