Many expected Kittle to eclipse Chargers TE Hunter Henry’s record-setting franchise tag for tight ends at $10.6 million. However, many may not have expected the market to experience a full reset as Kittle’s deal posts $15 million AAV.
One of the few who did expect this was NFL Network’s Mike Silver, who spoke on how Kittle’s camp believed he was far more than just a tight end.
“He is so important as a blocker. We’ve seen metrics where their running game does statistically when he’s in versus when he’s not in. And he’s amazing after the catch. You could argue that his importance to them as a receiver is like a No. 1 wide receiver’s. He’s almost like an honorary tackle. So, they’re going to have to pay him, and they’re going to have to pay him a lot. And I just don’t think you can apply normal tight end standards to this unique player.”
This kind of extension will undoubtedly impact the Baltimore Ravens as Mark Andrews enters his third NFL season. He also enters as one of the best tight ends in the NFL. Last season, he totaled 852 yards and 10 touchdowns on 64 receptions. Andrews is also becoming one of Lamar Jackson’s favorite targets and with TE Hayden Hurst traded to the Atlanta Falcons, I expect his numbers to only increase.
While Andrews is a ways off in terms of production, he’s also a year behind in his career. If he can take another step forward, which many assume he will, he won’t be so far off. In fact, he has Kittle beat in touchdowns over the past two years.
If you add Hurst’s two-year totals to Andrews’, it further extends the touchdowns by the duo and creeps closer to Kittle’s numbers. Reminder, that the Ravens’ offense is starkly different than all others in the modern league, seeing as they broke the single-season team rushing record. If the offense decides to air it out more, Andrews may decrease the gap.
A lot of what I’m saying is clutching onto the word “if.” But, it’s fair to assume Andrews’ future is among the brightest on the Ravens’ roster, which is arguably the most loaded with young talent in the NFL.