General manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan finally had a chance to see and talk with 49ers All-Pro tight end George Kittle in person on Monday.
After the 49ers’ veterans passed coronavirus (COVID-19) testing over the past five days, players were allowed to come into the team's headquarters in Santa Clara and have socially distanced communication with other members of the organization.
Kittle is in Santa Clara despite not coming to terms with a new long-time contract. Both sides recognize the importance of getting a new deal for Kittle, who is scheduled to make $2.133 million in the final year of his original four-year contract.
“We’re working diligently to come to a resolution,” Lynch said of the team’s negotiations with Kittle’s agent, Jack Bechta.
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Lynch said Monday he and Shanahan visited separately with Kittle.
“We’ve tried to be respectful of the player-agent thing, but it’s always nice just to talk with the player,” Lynch said. “ I think there’s a great understanding that we’re in this thing together, we’re partners, to try to get something done because it makes too much sense not to.”
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Kittle’s next contract will certainly make him the highest-paid tight end in the league. Currently, Austin Hooper of Cleveland has the league’s top multi-year contract at $10.5 million a year.
“We don’t have to say how important George is to us,” Shanahan said. “Not only being the best tight end, to me, in the league, but also the type of person he is. We’re doing everything we can to get that done. I do feel good about it. It was great to see George today for the first time.
“It was great to see George again today. No one’s changed, and I feel really good about this going forward and I’m optimistic about it. Hopefully, something will happen sooner than later. I’m not too concerned about it, though.”