George Kittle has stamped his authority in the league over the last two years. The 2017 fifth-round NFL draft pick had a record-breaking 2018 season. He ended the year with a single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end at 1,377. He followed that up with another stellar showing in 2019 as the San Francisco 49ers made the Super Bowl.
Despite a loss to the Patrick Mahomes-led Kansas City Chiefs in Miami, Kyle Shanahan’s team won a lot of hearts along the course of the season. Kittle, in particular, made his way to the top 10 NFL players list. It was no secret that George was criminally underpaid and was pushing for a record-breaking contract extension.
After a nervy off season, 49ers fans were relieved to see their very own star sign a five-year deal which made him the highest-paid tight end in the league. But as Kittle’s agent Jack Behta revealed, it was not an easy take by any means.
In a recent conversation with NFL correspondent Michael Silver, Jack Bechta gave some insight into his client’s contract negotiations. He also spoke about the ‘Valentine’s Day Massacre’ incident with respect to talks with 49ers Executive, Paraag Marathe.
“The first thing that hit me was, if you ever want to put out some bad news, you do it late on a Friday — like a Friday news dump. I was going to a little gathering with some friends in the neighborhood, and I decided not to open it till the next afternoon. When I did, the first thing I noticed was how long it was. Usually, the more paragraphs that come with a proposal, the worse the deal is. This one had a lot of paragraphs.
“After I took a good look at the offer. I started calling it ‘The Valentine’s Day Massacre,'” Bechta said.
When Bechta finally spoke to Marathe, he said, “I’m not even entertaining [the offer]. It’s a non-starter. I’m not even showing this to George, to help protect you guys. Get back to me when you get serious.”
George Kittle signed a five-year, $75 million contract with the 49ers with an $18 million signing bonus. In doing so, Kittle is now the highest-paid tight end in the league ahead of Los Angeles Chargers’ Hunter Henry and Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce. Kittle will be eager to repay the faith shown in him by the 49ers by helping them reach the Super Bowl once again this year.