The 49ers might not be close in contract talks with George Kittle‘s representation, but coach Kyle Shanahan and General Manager John Lynch expressed confidence Monday that they eventually will get their All-Pro tight end signed to a long-term deal.
Today marked the first day since last season that Shanahan and Lynch could talk to Kittle in person.
“We are working diligently to come to a resolution,” Lynch said on a conference call, via Jennifer Lee Chan. “I’ve been been on record talking about what George means to this place. We’ve tried to be respectful of the agent-player thing, but it’s always nice just to talk to the player.
“I think there’s a great understanding that we’re in this thing together. We’re partners to try to get something done because it makes too much sense not to.”
Kittle heads into the final season of his rookie contract due to make a $2.133 million base salary. He is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in March, and the 49ers presumably would use the franchise tag on Kittle if he hasn’t signed a long-term contract extension by then.
It’s a good bet Kittle will become the highest-paid player at his position. Chargers tight end Hunter Henry will make $10.6 million in 2020 under the franchise tag, while Browns tight end Austin Hooper signed the biggest long-term contract for the position with a four-year $42 million deal.
“We’re doing everything we can to get that done; I do feel good about it,” Shanahan said. “It was great to see George today for the first time. No one has changed and I feel really good about this going forward and feel very optimistic about it. Hopefully something will happen sooner than later. Not too concerned about it, though.”