49ers general manager John Lynch is hopeful he 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) set the salary cap floor for 2021 at $175 million — around $40 million 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.
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.”
Lynch added: “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.
“He’s what we want him to be. I think it would be silly not to figure that out. And we’re going to do just that.”