Fri Aug 14 8:10pm ET
By JOSH DUBOW
AP Pro Football Writer
In this Feb. 2, 2020, file photo, San Francisco 49ers' George Kittle (85) catches a pass in front of Kansas City Chiefs' Daniel Sorensen during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 54 football game in Miami Gardens, Fla. The play was called back on a penalty by Kittle. Kittle has agreed to a five-year extension with the San Francisco 49ers that reportedly is the richest contract ever at the position. A person familiar with the deal says the sides agreed Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020, on the deal to keep Kittle off the market next offseason. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)
In this Jan. 19, 2020, file photo, San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle celebrates after beating the Green Bay Packers 37-20 in the NFL NFC Championship football game in Santa Clara, Calif. Kittle has agreed to a five-year extension with the San Francisco 49ers that reportedly is the richest contract ever at the position. A person familiar with the deal says the sides agreed Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020, on the deal to keep Kittle off the market next offseason. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) All-Pro tight end George Kittle has signed his five-year, $75 million extension with the San Francisco 49ers that is the richest contract ever at the position.
Kittle officially signed the deal Friday, a day after agreeing to the contract that keeps him locked up in San Francisco through the 2025 season.
''I love being a 49er and am blessed to have the opportunity to wear red and gold for years to come,'' Kittle said in a statement. ''I can't wait to continue our quest to bring another Super Bowl back to the bay.
''I want to thank my teammates for their hard work and help in making me be the best teammate, player and man I can be each week. Together we have already accomplished amazing things, but we all know there is still so much more to do. It's an incredible locker room to be a part of and I am grateful to my brothers for making this such a fun and exciting place to play football.''
Kittle also thanked his coaches, ownership, general manager John Lynch, his family and agent Jack Bechta. The deal includes an $18 million signing bonus and $30 million fully guaranteed.
Kittle had been one of the NFL's biggest bargains after being drafted in the fifth round in 2017 and now he gets the biggest contract ever at the position. The previous high for average salary for a tight end, according to overthecap.com, was the $10.6 million Hunter Henry is getting from the Chargers this season on the franchise tag.
Kansas City's Travis Kelce agreed to a four-year, $57.25 million extension shortly after Kittle's deal was finalized Thursday.
The Niners could have used the tag on Kittle the next two offseasons, but instead managed to work out a long-term deal that satisfied both sides.
''George was part of our first draft class and represents as well as anyone the core values we covet in the players we build our team with,'' Lynch said. ''His talent and spirit are unique, his will and grit contagious and his production undeniable. We can't wait to see what the future holds for George and our team with him a part of it.''
Kittle has been the most productive tight end in NFL history through his first three seasons with 197 catches for 2,664 yards. But he is almost equally as skilled as a blocker in the run game where he is a key piece in coach Kyle Shanahan's dynamic offense.
The Niners averaged 5.0 yards per carry last season with Kittle on the field, compared to 3.5 yards per carry without him, according to NFL NextGen stats.
After a solid rookie season, Kittle broke through in 2018 when he set an NFL record for yards receiving in a season for tight ends when he had 88 catches for 1,377 yards and was named a second-team All-Pro.
He was almost as productive last season, despite missing two games with injuries, when he had 85 catches for 1,053 yards and was a first-team All-Pro. He also was a major reason the Niners went 13-3 on the way to a Super Bowl appearance.
It has been quite a start to a career for a player who caught only 48 passes in 25 college games at Iowa, leading him to fall to the fifth round of the draft.
The Niners believed in his athleticism and potential and were surprised he lasted beyond the third round. But they were very fortunate he was there at 146th overall as the ninth tight end selected in that draft.
TFC Draft August 13th
Elite Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey didn't hesitate to say his own name when it came to selecting the first pick in fantasy drafts, per ESPN. The 24-year-old's claim is backed up by an incredible 2019 season which saw him garner 1,387 rush yards, 4.8 rush yards per carry, 15 rush touchdowns, 116 receptions, 1,005 receiving yards, and four receiving touchdowns. The Panther also finished with the second most fantasy football points in the history of the game at 471 points. It should be no shock that the RB would consider himself the top pick for 2020 and with a role as the focal point of the Carolina offense, along with coming off an astounding fantasy season, there is no disputing that.
Washington Football Team running back/wide receiver could fill the role planned for recently-released running back Derrius Guice. Gibson has been practicing as both a running back and a wide receiver, but with Guice no longer in the backfield, Gibson could be the best bet in a still-crowded running back room. Adrian Peterson, Bryce Love, Peyton Barber, and J.D. McKissic will also be battling for playing time. Gibson is a huge upside/gadget player floor choice right now.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott said that he is "optimistic" about coming to an agreement with the team on a long-term contract extension after this season. It seems the two sides never got too close to a deal in the offseason, as Prescott wanted more money and fewer years than the Cowboys were offering. He'll play under the franchise tag this year and could be tagged again next year if the two sides still can't agree, although next year's tag would cost the team $38 million.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield said he's "finding out how to get back to the basics" after a disappointing sophomore campaign in 2019. "I lost myself in that and I wasn't able to be who I am for these guys on the team. I told them that," Mayfield continued. "I told them that if I'm not doing that, hold me accountable." Head coach Kevin Stefanski's zone-run and play-action scheme should fit Mayfield better, but some fantasy owners may still be skeptical. Mayfield was being taken as a top-five fantasy signal-caller in 2019. That won't happen in 2020 drafts, but the 25-year-old from Oklahoma could surprise some as a QB1 with an improved supporting cast.
Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook plans to be a full participant at training camp while he seeks a long-term contract extension. "I'm out there full go, 1,000 percent," Cook said. The RB1 in fantasy should be present for workouts on Monday for the start of camp. The 25-year-old second-rounder was a top-five running back last year despite missing two games due to injury. With the Vikings passing game less of a certainty now that Stefon Diggs is in Buffalo, Minnesota could lean even more on Cook, both on the ground and through the air. Fantasy managers probably won't view the former Florida State running back as elite because of injury concerns, but he's been pretty money in his short career when he's on the field.
Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said that quarterback Marcus Mariota "really fired me up today" at training camp on Friday. He has turned a corner with his ankle (injury) and he is a dazzling playmaker. He had a very nice day. It might just be coach speak, and we all know that Gruden typically loves almost every player he's laid eyes on in the NFL, but it's worth noting nonetheless. Incumbent Derek Carr could easily be on the hot seat early in 2020 if he doesn't impress the coaching staff with his production, and Mariota, despite his failures in Tennessee, remains athletic and is one of the highest-paid backup QBs in the league. If Mariota winds up making starts this year, he'd be a low-ceiling, low-end QB2.
Free-agent QB Trevor Siemian (Jets) worked out for the Detroit Lions Friday, Aug. 14.
New York Jets RB Kenneth Dixon (hip), DE Bronson Kaufusi (hamstring) and LB Jabari Zuniga (quadriceps) did not participate in practice Friday, Aug. 14.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson has been meeting with the running backs at camp, instead of the wide receivers. This could be an indication that head coach Matt Nagy is planning to use the speedy receiver out of the backfield more this year. This is Patterson's second year with the Bears. Last year, he caught 11 passes for 83 yards while adding 17 rushes for 103 yards. It's certainly an intriguing development, but we'll need to see it play out quite a bit more before we start to get excited about Patterson for fantasy purposes.
Free-agent LB Mychal Kendricks (Seahawks) received interest from the Las Vegas Raiders, but the two sides were not able to reach a contract agreement, according to a source.
Detroit Lions DE Romeo Okwara (undisclosed) was activated from the Active/Non-Football Injury list Friday, Aug. 14. The team also waived S Jeremiah Dinson.
Free-agent S Jahleel Addae (Texans) is scheduled to work out for the Minnesota Vikings, according to a source.
Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter underwent knee surgery on Thursday according to head coach Kevin Stefanski. The veteran lineman reportedly had the surgery to remove loose bodies from the knee. Stefanski would not elaborate on how long Tretter would be out but the NFL Network reported that he will probably only miss a couple weeks. In Tretters absence, rookie center Nick Harris will get a chance to show what he can do. Tretter is a key piece to a revamped Cleveland offensive line this year.
New York Giants DT Leonard Williams (undisclosed) was activated from the Active/Non-Football Injury list Friday, Aug. 14.
New York Jets RB Frank Gore (hamstring) did not participate in practice Friday, Aug. 14, because of a hamstring injury. Head coach Adam Gase said Gore was held out as a precaution.
Fantasy Spin: Gore likely will be the No. 2 running back for the Jets and see a handful of carries each game. He could be a handcuff to Le'Veon Bell in fantasy leagues but probably will not have a big fantasy impact.
New York Jets CB Pierre Desir (hamstring) did not participate in practice Friday, Aug. 14.
Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield said Friday, Aug. 14, he 'lost myself' in 2019 and started doubting himself after a couple of sub-par performances. Mayfield, though, said Friday that's in the past. 'In a much better state, mentally, physically. Just ready to roll,' Mayfield told reporters at training camp. 'Back to where I need to be to be the leader.'
Fantasy Spin: Drafted as a breakout No. 1 QB last season, Mayfield stumbled badly, throwing for five fewer touchdowns and seven more interceptions than he did as a rookie in 2018. He should bounce back the other way some in 2020, but he's still figures to wind up as a QB2 when all's said and done.
Updating previous report, New England Patriots RB Lamar Miller received a one-year, $1.05 million contract that includes $200,000 in guarantees with $1.5 million also available in 'achievable' incentives.
Updating a previous report, San Francisco TE Jordan Reed signed a one-year, $1.05 million contract. The deal also includes up to $750,000 in playing-time incentives.
Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre told the 'Load Management' podcast that he would "love to see" Aaron Rodgers on the Chicago Bears one day. History could be repeating itself after the Packers traded up to draft quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of this year's draft. Many have speculated and assumed that this was not happy news for Rodgers, prompting many to wonder how much longer Rodgers will be in a Packers uniform. Despite a dip in production in the second half of 2019, Rodgers still passed for 4,002 yards with 26 touchdowns and only four interceptions. The 36-year-old still has plenty of ability but currently finds himself towards the end of many fantasy top-10 QB lists. The former MVP will be a reliable option but will be drafted in the later rounds for the first time in his career.