Ravens: George Kittle, Travis Kelce extensions are great for Mark Andrews

Ravens tight end Mark Andrews is surely going to benefit from the lucrative extensions given to the 49ers’ George Kittle and Chiefs’ Travis Kelce.

The NFL tight end market just reset, and the Baltimore RavensMark Andrews sure has to be pleased with all the news springing up across the league on Thursday.

After months of being at an impasse, the San Francisco 49ers and first-team All-Pro tight end George Kittle finally reached an agreement for what’s going to be a five-year, $75 million extension, earning him an average of $15 million annually. Previously, the annual record for a tight end was held by Cleveland Browns tight end Austin Hooper, who signed his new deal earlier this offseason.

Mere hours after Kittle’s deal was announced, additional news broke Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, widely viewed right alongside Kittle as the top tight end in the league, would be signing his own four-year extension worth up to $57.25 million. That figure averages out to $14.3 million.

Needless to say, ESPN’s Adam Schefter’s post-deals tweet was pretty accurate:

Andrews, two years into his own career, is already on a trajectory similar to both Kittle and Kelce. While Andrews’ 852 receiving yards in 2019 fell far short of the record-setting 1,377 yards Kittle posted his sophomore season in 2018, the former’s 10 touchdowns suggests he’s going to be considered among the league’s elite tight ends.

If he hasn’t already.

With Baltimore’s offense heavily reliant on its tight ends, there’s little reason to expect Andrews’ numbers get even more impressive in 2020 and beyond. No questions there. The Ravens’ budding superstar could easily put together a profile not unlike those of both Kittle and Kelce.

And the cash will surely follow.

 

What George Kittle, Travis Kelce extensions mean for Mark Andrews, Ravens

Fortunately, the Ravens aren’t anywhere close to dealing with salary cap hell. True, they’ll have to adjust like every other team in 2021 when the cap is expected to dip as low as $175 million. Having quarterback Lamar Jackson on his rookie deal still surely helps, although his own lucrative extension is something general manager Eric DeCosta has to be thinking about.

Andrews, meanwhile, is entering year three of his four-year rookie contract. He’s slated to earn just over $959,000 this upcoming season. Being a former third-round pick, Baltimore won’t have the fifth-year option available, and teams can’t negotiate contracts until the players’ fourth year at the pro level anyway.

So, for those wondering, don’t expect to hear anything about a would-be Andrews extension until 2021.

That said, both Kittle and Kelce just reset the tight end market. While neither player received top wide receiver-type money, they both easily increased the dollar value top tight ends can make. In a way, that benefits both Andrews and the Ravens. Andrews can bank on getting a payday much higher than many of his predecessors in recent years, while Baltimore, so reliant on tight ends, can save up some of the money other teams would otherwise spend on wideouts to address other positions of need.

Or to extend Jackson when that time comes.

It’s tough to gauge what Andrews will command in 2022 and beyond. Perhaps something in the realm of $13 million to $16 million would be an early guess, and it’s largely predicated on what he does after his breakout Pro Bowl campaign from a year ago.

Either way, he’s going to get paid handsomely and should be sending a thank-you note to both Kittle and Kelce for redefining the market.