San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch is really hopeful the NFL franchise can figure out an extension for star tight end George Kittle despite salary-cap complications caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Kittle is scheduled to be a free agent at the end of 2020 season and is seeking to reset the market at the tight end position.
The 2017 fifth-round pick has done more than enough to earn a lucrative extension. A 2019 first-team All-Pro, Kittle has posted successive 1,000-yard campaigns, setting the record for receiving yards in a single season by a tight end in 2018 with 1,377.
An agreement between the NFL and the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) saw the salary cap floor for 2021 set at $175million – around $40m lower than what had been expected prior to the pandemic – as the league prepares for the financial hit it will likely take as a result of teams having to play games without fans.
The #49ers have made the following roster moves.
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) July 28, 2020
Lynch acknowledged that change had made Kittle’s extension more difficult, telling KNBR: “That’s a big adjustment. But we were waiting for some of that [information] to guide us in how we structure a deal.
“Now we have the information. It continues to come in. So we’ve traded ideas and we’re really hopeful.
“I knew it might be tricky because of the position he plays and things of that nature, finding the right number.
“I think people should be encouraged. We have had tremendous talks — I don’t want to say progress — but talks with [Kittle’s agent, Jack Bechta]. And we work real well together.
“We’ve traded ideas and things and we’re really hopeful. 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. I think it would be silly not to figure that out. And we’re going to do just that.”