Some of the NFL’s best tight ends are making the media rounds to promote the second annual Tight End University summit in Nashville, Tennessee this June.
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle recently joined Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio to promote the gathering of the NFL’s best at the position. During the interview, Florio asked Kittle to name “the guy” that wows him at the tight end position in the NFL. Kittle didn’t even blink before naming Kelce.
“So hear me out, Travis Kelce, six seasons in a row, 1,000 yards,” Kittle said. “I’m pretty sure he has the most receiving yards over any wide receiver, skill position in the last six years. He gets paid half of what a wide receiver makes, which just boggles my mind. I mean, to me, Travis Kelce, he’s been doing it for so long and at such a high level. And he doesn’t have an off game. I think he has one bad game a year, and it’s just because he’s getting triple-teamed. So like, he’s a player I look at like, when he gets the ball in his hands, he’s a monster.”
Kittle wasn’t wrong in his assessment of Kelce’s production. The Chiefs’ All-Pro tight end has the most receiving yards in football over the past six seasons by nearly 80 yards.
Most receiving yards in #NFL — last 6 seasons
1. Travis Kelce — 7,269
2. Davante Adams — 7,192
3. Julio Jones — 7,129
4. DeAndre Hopkins — 7,048
5. Mike Evans — 7,044
— Jeff Kerr (@JeffKerrCBS) May 23, 2022
The position has certainly grown and there are a ton of players making contributions on their teams, but for Kittle, none stand out more than Kelce.
“It’s fun too, more tight ends and more tight ends are starting to get the ball more, starting to be more part of the offense, be more explosive. I love watching Darren Waller. I love watching Mark Andrews. (Zach) Ertz is really fun now down in Arizona. That’s just fun to see him just kind of dominate, getting a lot of touchdowns. Hockenson, Tonyan. There are all these tight ends that are explosive and fun to watch, but Kelce — when you have six 1000 yards in a row, you’re hell of a football player.”
Kittle also wasn’t wrong about Kelce’s pay. When Kelce signed a four-year, $57.25 million contract extension with the Chiefs in August of 2020, many knew that his deal was going to look like a steal down the line. He’s currently earning the second-most in average per year salary among NFL tight ends, but the $27 million in guaranteed money attached to the contract is only good for sixth among tight ends. That contract wouldn’t even crack the top-10 in terms of wide receiver contracts. It’s especially meager when you consider how the receiver market exploded during the 2022 NFL offseason.
Could a golden age of tight end production and pay be upon us in the future? Kittle seemed confident that the position will eventually be recognized in a similar light.
“We’ll see,” Kittle said. “I would say that every NFL team that’s won a Super Bowl or been to the Super Bowl for like the last five years has had an All-Pro tight end a part of the team. I feel like tight end’s not just like a cog in the wheel, it’s an important position that can really add to your offense or diminish it.”