February 20, 2020

Kittle, Buckner, Armstead headline 49ers’ contracts to watch in 2020

It’s time to follow the 49ers’ money in terms of how their 2020 roster takes shape. Look for early signals as they meet with agents at the scouting combine in Indianapolis later this month. Here are 10 contract situations to watch:

1. Tight end George Kittle. Go ahead and rip up his rookie deal’s fourth and final year. The 49ers better reward him with an extension that resets the market for tight ends, which has been stagnant the past couple years.

Kittle is not your normal tight end. He has No. 1-receiver production for catches and yards, so does he get wide receiver money? He’s arguably the 49ers’ best blocker, so does he get left tackle dough?

Negotiations haven’t started, nor has any hint of an offseason holdout. This isn’t the 49ers’ most urgent matter. It is their most compelling, and it will only be as complicated as the 49ers make it for their offensive catalyst, two-time captain and Len Eshmont Award winner. Look for Kittle to easily surpass Jimmy Graham’s $10 million annual salary. The guess: a five-year, $62.5 million deal with over $26 million guaranteed.

SANTA CLARA, CA – JANUARY 02: San Francisco 49ers defensive end Arik Armstead, left, and defensive tackle, DeForest Buckner, participate in a practice on Jan. 2, 2020, in Santa Clara, Calif. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group)

2. Defensive lineman Arik Armstead. His status is the most pressing, because he is the 49ers’ most coveted free agent and might warrant the franchise tag. After his career-best fifth season, he and the 49ers professed a desire to stay together. He may have priced himself out of their range, and tied to that are their commitments to DeForest Buckner, Dee Ford and Nick Bosa.

They could franchise tag Armstead, either to pay him a steep raise (nearly double his $9 million salary from 2019) or trade him for a second-day draft pick, and he noted last week the 49ers control that scenario. He played out his contract year perfectly, with a career-high 10 sacks (plus two in the playoffs) and establishing himself as a versatile, every-down lineman who stayed healthy.

3. Defensive tackle DeForest Buckner. Rather than pay out his fifth-year option at $14.36 million, a multi-year pact should be earmarked for this season’s Bill Walsh Award winner, the coaches’ choices for MVP.

He’s been a model pro since arriving as a 2016 first-round pick, earning second-team All-Pro honors this season after making his first Pro Bowl in 2018. Widely respected and a double-team magnet, Buckner should command a top-level contract. He won’t get Aaron Donald money (six years, $135 million) but he merits more than what the 49ers gave Dee Ford last year (five years, $85 million).

MIAMI, FL – JANUARY 29: San Francisco 49ers’ Emmanuel Sanders (17) speaks during a press conference in Miami, Florida, on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. The San Francisco 49ers will play the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV on February 2. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

4. Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. Last week, he professed …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports


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