The San Francisco 49ers inked their All-Pro tight end George Kittle to a five-year, $75 million extension this week, resetting the market for top NFL tight ends.
Kittle, 26, will average $15 million per annum going forward, followed by Kansas City’s Travis Kelce, who will earn $14.3 million per. Others averaging over $10 million a year are Hunter Henry of the Los Angeles Chargers and Austin Hooper, who signed with the Cleveland Browns this offseason.
What does this mean for the Giants’ top tight end, Evan Engram? Not much unless he fulfills the promise he brought with him from Ole Miss three summers ago.
Engram is still under the rookie deal he signed back in 2017. He carries a $3.4 million cap hit in 2020. The Giants exercised Engram’s fifth-year option for 2021 at a salary of a sliver over $6 million and won’t likely float any extensions under his nose until they see him play a full season.
In his three seasons with the Giants, Engram has shown to be injury prone. After a rookie season that saw him play in 15 games, he followed up with seasons of 11 and eight games.
The Giants will want to see a more reliable player in 2020. Engram has been productive when he does play, which leads to the question of whether the Giants will extend him should he finally have that breakout season this year.
Engram’s stats are comparable to Kittle’s in a prorated scenario, but that’s just the point. We’ll never know what he can do unless he can stay on the field.
And those numbers were under two other play callers, Ben McAdoo and Pat Shurmur. What Jason Garrett has in store for Engram could be different. Garrett had future Hall of Famer Jason Witten in Dallas, who is a completely different player than Engram, so whatever Garrett has planned could be along the more creative side to exploit Engram’s athleticism and speed.
Either way, it will come down to Engram himself to earn his way to a top contract.