Shon Coleman Opts Out, George Kittle does not
A 49ers player opted out of the 2020 season Thursday afternoon. But it wasn’t George Kittle.
According to the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, 49ers backup offensive tackle Shon Coleman has opted out of the upcoming season. He joins wide receiver Travis Benjamin as the only 49ers who have opted out that we know of.
Coleman, 28, missed all of the 2019 season after fracturing his fibula during the first preseason game. Before he went down, he was the 49ers’ swing tackle, meaning their top backup offensive tackle. After he went down, the 49ers replaced him with Justin Skule and Daniel Brunskill, who both played well and are younger than Coleman.
So there was no guarantee Coleman would have made the team. He and Benjamin were on the roster bubble. Plus Coleman survived leukemia when he was 18 and is at risk of COVID-19.
Now he and Benjamin will get a stipend, and their contracts will toll to 2021, meaning they won’t be free agents next offseason -- they’ll be under contract with the 49ers one more season.
Good news for them.
But the big news for the 49ers is that Kittle decided not to opt out. The past few days, the NFL Network’s Michael Silver speculated that Kittle might opt out, and I interpreted Silver’s speculation as an idle threat from Kittle’s agent, who has been in contact with Silver, according to Silver. Kittle wants a contract extension, and I think his agent, Jack Bechta, used the threat of opting out to try to bring the 49ers back to the negotiating table.
Seems like that plan didn’t work.
Now, Kittle either can accept the 49ers offer, or play for $2.1 million in 2020 and hit free agency next year. My dad, former San Francisco Chronicle and Santa Rosa Press Democrat Sports Columnist Lowell Cohn, thinks Kittle will capitulate and take the 49ers deal before the season starts. I think Kittle will hang tough and wait. We bet a $40 bottle of California Pinot Noir on the outcome of this negotiation.
So for my sake, I hope the 49ers and Kittle don’t reach an agreement any time soon. My wine collection needs a nice California Pinot.