Multiple sources tell Adam Schefter of ESPN that they believe that George Kittle, Austin Hooper and Zach Ertz will end up redefining the value of NFL tight ends this season and in turn, reset the market in terms of salaries next offseason.
Kittle has turned into a star for the 49ers and Schefter says few around the league believe he’ll play out the 2020 season for the $735,000 he’s scheduled to make.
As of now, Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph is the NFL’s highest-paid tight end this season in terms of total cash income on non-rookie deals, so we could easily be looking at salaries above $10 million per year for the top tight ends.
Kittle, 26, is a former fifth-round pick of the 49ers out of Iowa back in 2017. He’s currently in the third year of his four-year, $2.69 million contract and set to make a base salary of $645,000 for the 2019 season.
In 2019, Kittle has appeared in 11 games and caught 60 passes for 754 yards receiving and four touchdowns.
Hooper, 25, was drafted in the third round by the Falcons out of Stanford in 2016. He’s entering the final year of a four-year, $3.165 million rookie contract and is set to make a base salary of $720,000 for the 2019 season.
In 2019, Hooper has appeared in 10 games and caught 58 passes for 640 yards receiving and six touchdowns.
Ertz, 29, is a former second-round pick of the Eagles back in 2013. He’s in the fourth year of his six-year, $43.64 million contract that included $20 million guaranteed.
Ertz stands to make base salaries of $7.5 million (2019), $7.25 million (2020), and $7.75 million (2021) over the remainder of his deal.
In 2019, Ertz has appeared in 13 games and 79 passes for 827 yards receiving and five touchdowns.
We have Hooper, Henry and Ebron featured in our Top 50 – 2020 Free Agents list.