A flurry of recent contract extensions (and a signing) has swept the NFL. These are likely to be the last big moves before roster cut downs and then the season. Let us dig into each one.
George Kittle TE-SF (5 year-$75 million)
Kittle did reset the TE market in the NFL albeit not to the extent that most thought. This signing is benefiting the 49ers more than Kittle. Kittle would have reached high teens or even $20 million a season if he hit the open market when one team gets desperate. Instead the 49ers have locked up the best TE in football for 5 more years. Kittle is as good of a blocking TE as Gronkowski in his prime, while having the speed of Evan Engram and the intelligence of Kelce. The 49ers just need to find a QB capable of winning the Superbowl, Garoppolo may grow into this QB but he is not there at the moment.
Travis Kelce TE-KC (4 year-$57.25 million)
Kelce is looking to have the long career of Tony Gonzalez. He is now signed till he is 35 years old. Kelce seems to have always been the second best TE in the league, being Gronkowski and now Kittle, but he is still a beast. Kelce is practically uncoverable. He can physically beat out any safety and on plays the safety slows him down, Kelce has been in the league long enough to know how to shake him loose. Crosses and hitches are bread and butter for him. Signing to keep him under contract for 6 years to partner the speed of Hill, Hardman and Watkins will give defences nightmares for seasons to come. 2015 was the last time Kelce had under 1000yds receiving. That’s just plain ridiculous for a TE.
Kenny Clark NT-GB (4 year-$70 million)
Clark is now the highest paid NT in the league. Clark is underrated, seemingly never talked about outside of Green Bay. It doesn’t help that he doesn’t play a sexy position, but the big guys help make the big plays. Averaging 5.5 sacks over the last 3 seasons and 57 tackles. That’s more than Damon Harrison or Eddie Goldman or Dontari Poe over the same period of time. To add to this, Clark creates so much disruption un the centre of that D-Line, that he helps boost teammate’s stat lines (it’s basically the NT’s job to boost other’s stats). Blake Martinez got 155 tackles last year and the Smiths (Za’Darius and Preston, not related) got 13.5 and 12 sacks respectively, that isn’t happening without the 313lbs Clark dominating opposing centres and guards.
Dion Dawkins OT-BUF (4 years-$60 million)
The one thing that a young, erratic QB needs is a good O-Line. Josh Allen can start thanking Brandon Beane for keeping 1/5th of his O-Line intact. Dawkins is easily on a better deal than Laremy Tunsil on $22 million a year. He allowed only the 9th fewest pressures in the league last year and that’s with the highly talented but problematic Josh Allen. Allen is great but he can hold onto the ball for too long and he won’t ever be picking up blitzes like a Tom Brady, all make the O-Line job more difficult. Dawkins is an absolute steal; Buffalo is being run really well.
Everson Griffen DE-DAL (1 year-$6 million)
Griffen has finally found a home for the coming season. He had the 11th most pressures last year and the idea that his play dropped by the end of the season can be explained by Griffen having to rush the passer more than he ever has in his career. If anyone doubts his ability, watch him destroy Tyron Smith last year. He won’t have to rush the passer as much with a strong rotation that the Cowboys have, with Tyrone Crawford, Bradley Anae and Aldon Smith. Griffen’s deal increases the Cowboys defence by more than his own talent. He will help keep others fresh and therefore more terrorizing for young QBs Daniel Jones and Dwayne Haskins. A great signing.