Falcons: Where does Kyle Pitts salary rank among tight ends in the NFL?

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Kyle Pitts signed his rookie contract, marking the last domino of the Falcons 2021 rookie class to fall. As a fourth-overall selection, Pitts’ contract figures were going to mimic those of other highly drafted rookies, which Jake Gordon broke down as the official details have yet to be released.

While we don’t have the yearly values yet, they are typically on an increasing scale for base salary, and the cap hit increases by a small amount each season. The signing bonus typically remains the same. For example, Baker Mayfield signed a four-year, $32.6 million deal with a $21.9 million signing bonus. In 2018, his base salary was $480k with a $5.46 million signing bonus for a cap hit of $5.94 million. In 2019, his base salary jumped to $570k with the same $5.46 million signing bonus, which, when combined with his $1.395 million roster bonus, created a $7.42 million cap hit.

Pitts’ contract should look pretty similar, and the Falcons will have him under control until the 2026 offseason if they exercise his fifth-year option. Atlanta may have structured Pitts’ deal differently, as their cap space situation is different from the 2018 Browns. OverTheCap has its own prediction model, and this is what it looks like:

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This is a little different from Mayfield’s model, but I would expect the actual numbers to be closer to what they predict. Regardless, the cap hit is still the same and the money is fully guaranteed. The base salary and signing bonus numbers are the key factors at play.

With that kind of money, it will be curious to see where he ranks among the league’s tight ends in different financial metrics. Per OverTheCap, the total value of his rookie contract — $32,910,588 — ranks seventh among NFL tight ends, behind George Kittle, Travis Kelce, Jonnu Smith, Zach Ertz, Austin Hooper, and Hunter Henry — in order. His AAV also ranks seventh. In both parameters, he ranks higher than Darren Waller, who is undoubtedly a top-four tight end.
Pitts is being paid like an elite player at his position on his rookie deal, but his potential warrants the unprecedented contract. The scarier thought should be what his second contract will look like in a few years.
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