Tight end pursuit shows 49ers need to prepare for life after Kittle

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Tight end pursuit shows 49ers need to prepare for life after Kittle originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

The 49ers took the unique measure a year ago to select tight ends in the third- and seventh rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft.

But the 49ers’ unsuccessful pursuit of restricted free-agent tight end Brock Wright indicates they do not believe they have a suitable backup for George Kittle currently on their roster.

But it might go even further than that.

As sacrilegious as it might seem, the 49ers need to prepare for life after Kittle — even if he showed no signs of slowing down in his seventh NFL season.

This is the harsh reality of professional football. And the 49ers dealt with this issue last month. The team proposed significant paycuts for their two longest-tenured players: Defensive tackle Arik Armstead and fullback Kyle Juszczyk.

Armstead declined and the 49ers released him. He made the right decision, as he quickly signed a three-year, $43.5 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars that pays him more than twice what the 49ers had offered.

Juszczyk opted to remain with the 49ers on a new deal that created $4 million in salary cap savings but keeps him atop the NFL’s pay scale at his position.

Guess who is the next longest-tenured 49ers player? That’s Kittle.

Kittle, 30, is coming off a fifth Pro Bowl season in which he caught 60 passes for 1,020 yards and six touchdowns.

The 49ers created cap space this offseason by converting his salary to signing bonus. But next year, Kittle is scheduled to make more than $15 million in salary and bonuses on the final year of his contract.

There is little doubt Kittle and the 49ers want to keep their union going for as long as possible. But this is a business, and San Francisco undoubtedly will have to make some difficult decisions in the coming seasons.

After all, quarterback Brock Purdy is playing for cheap for only one more season. The sides can renegotiate his contract after the 2024 season, and his annual pay could…

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Source link : https://sports.yahoo.com/tight-end-pursuit-shows-49ers-022850383.html

Author : NBC Sports BayArea

Publish date : 2024-04-04 02:28:50

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