Former Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez thinks it’s wrong that the tight end pay in the NFL is set lower to what other positions like wide receiver pays. He feels that tight ends should make just as much money as a receiver if the tight end is playing at a high level such as New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham.
To Gonzalez, he sees it as discrimination by the NFL for tight ends not to be able to make the same kind of money that the receivers make.
“I can think of a few terms to describe what’s going on in the NFL, like ‘backward,’ ‘lack of common sense’ or ‘behind the times,’” Gonzalez wrote on CBSSports.com, “but the one that makes the most sense is ‘discrimination.’ Salaries should be set based on production and contributions, not positions.”
The NFL players’ association reportedly won’t be able to do anything about this until the CBA runs out.
Graham wants to be paid in the same $14-16 million neighborhood as the receivers, and not be limited to the $7 million that tight ends are paid with the franchise tag.
The Saints are said to be interested in bumping up the normal tight end pay to give Graham $9.5 million per season, which is good money for a tight end, but it’s well below the $14 million to $16 million that a receiver would get for putting up the same stats that Graham has been putting up the last three seasons with the Saints.
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, it’s possible that Graham could sit training camp and possibly come during November to play half a season before moving on.
Graham is likely going to sit out until the Saints give him similar money to what a receiver makes. The Saints can obviously pay him that money if they want to, but obviously that’s going to hurt to have that much money going to one player, especially given the huge contract they’re already paying to quarterback Drew Brees.