George Kittle is in the Bay Area to stay.
The 49ers and Kittle are in agreement on a five-year, $75 million extension, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network's Michael Silver reported. Of the $75 million total, more than half of it is made up of guarantees, per Rapoport, with $30 million guaranteed at signing, $40 million guaranteed for injury and $18 million arriving via signing bonus.
"We're just pumped to get it done." 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said on KNBR on Thursday, per the San Francisco Chronicle. "We were dying to get something done with a player like George."
Kittle's new deal makes him the highest paid tight end by a wide margin, surpassing Tampa Bay's Rob Gronkowski in terms of total contract value ($54 million), and blowing past Chargers tight end Hunter Henry ($10.6 million on a one-year franchise tag) and new Browns signing Austin Hooper ($10.5 million per year over four years) in terms of average per year.
It's money well spent. Kittle's 2,945 receiving yards and 216 receptions are the most by a tight end in his first three seasons in NFL history. His 1,743 yards gained after catch in his career -- including an eye-popping 873-yard total in 2018 -- are the most in the NFL since 2017, and his 790 yards gained after contact are the most of any player over the last two years.
Kittle is also incredibly efficient, leading the league in reception yards per route run in 2019 with 3.3 yards gained (minimum 300 routes run). He also forced 20 missed tackles on receptions in 2019, the most among tight ends, per Pro Football Focus.
Kittle's Pro Football Focus overall grade of 94.4 was the highest ever given to a tight end in PFF's history, which dates back to the heyday of a current Pro Football Hall of Famer, Tony Gonzalez. It was also the highest grade given to any player in the entire NFL in 2019.
Kittle's astronomical price tag for a tight end isn't just for his fantastic receiving production; The man is also regarded as quite the crushing blocker. He ranked third among all tight ends in run-blocking grade in 2019, per PFF, and his presence as a pass-catcher worries opposing defenses enough to drastically shift their personnel groupings when he's in the huddle.
When Kittle is on the field, opposing defenses lined up lighter defensive boxes (24.1 percent) than when he was off the field (9.7 percent), creating more advantageous situations for San Francisco's run blockers. That type of shift in defensive personnel produced a yards-per-carry average of 5 and 20 rushing touchdowns with Kittle on the field, as opposed to a YPC mark of 3.5 and just three scores without him.
Even when he's not running routes, Kittle is directly affecting the way defenses approach his team. That type of per-play impact is worth $15 million per season.