Kyle Pitts agrees to four-year deal with Falcons

Falcons tight ends Kyle Pitts runs a drill during team practice at minicamp Wednesday, June 10, 2021, in Flowery Branch. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

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Falcons tight ends Kyle Pitts runs a drill during team practice at minicamp Wednesday, June 10, 2021, in Flowery Branch. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Kyle Pitts, the fourth overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, agreed to a four-year deal Tuesday with the Falcons.

Pitts’ slotted four-year deal is worth $32.9 million, with $21.2 guaranteed, according to NFL business analyst Joel Corry of CBSSports.com. The Falcons will have the option to pick up the fifth year of the deal.

Pitts, a 6-foot-6, 245-pound tight end, caught 100 passes for 1,492 yards (14.9 avg.) and 18 touchdowns in 32 career games over three seasons (2018-20) at Florida.

Pitts caught 43 passes for 770 yards (17.9 avg.) and 12 touchdowns in eight games last season, earning unanimous first-team All-American honors and the Mackey Award, which goes to the nation’s top tight end.

The Falcons traded their top wide receiver, Julio Jones, and are hoping to get Pitts ready to play a major role as a rookie. He participated in the rookie minicamp, the mandatory minicamp and OTAs.

“He’s worked really hard the first couple of weeks,” Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said recently after working with Pitts. “I’ve really enjoyed getting to know him. But I was excited that night as well.

“I think for Kyle, the biggest thing is worrying about getting better. Learning the offense and trying to get a little better every day. He has great potential. Great upside, but he (must) focus on daily improvement and try to learn the offense as best he can.”

Credit: Atlanta Falcons

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Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan comments on when he learned the Falcons would take Kyle Pitts and on decision not to draft a quarterback.

Credit: Atlanta Falcons

Falcons coach Arthur Smith used a lot of 12 personnel (one back, two tight ends) last season with the Titans. Pitts likely will pair, from time to time, with either Hayden Hurst or Lee Smith in double tight-end formations. He moved around and was flexed out at times in college.

Pitts was not overly concerned about how he’d be used when he spoke at the rookie minicamp.

“I feel like this is at a new level, and I kind of have to do certain things, but to have older guys in the (meeting) room and to learn and sit back and watch them as a young rookie, that’s what a lot of people dream for,” Pitts said. “Hayden Hurst is a great tight end. I look forward to seeing how he does this level to make myself (better), kind of emulate his game and add some of his tools into my box.”

Tight ends coach Justin Peelle, a former Falcon turned position coach, will guide Pitts’ initial steps in the NFL.

Pitts noted that he played for an offensive-minded coach in Dan Mullen at Florida, and he sees similarities between Mullen and Smith.

“He coaches us hard. Effort and attitude, those are all of the things he harps on,” Pitts said. “Everyone is kind of falling in line and following the leader. That’s something that I look forward to.”

Pitts was happy to get a jump on his NFL career with a live minicamp and ditch the virtual learning for a few days.

“Sometimes we are looking at each other through the screen, and we just want to get next to each other and be back in the locker room and be around (our) brothers,” Pitts said. “This is fun just being around the guys and building relationships.”

Pitts, who was taken earlier than any tight end in NFL draft history, is not worried about expectations being too high.

“Just trying to learn my playbook day by day,” Pitts said.