Recently retired tight end Tony Gonzalez has weighed in with his opinion on Jimmy Graham’s new deal at New Orleans Saints.
The 27 year-old re-signed with the New Orleans Saints to a four-year contract worth $40 million, with $21 million of that guaranteed, but Gonzalez believes that still makes Graham underpaid – even at $10 million a year.
“If you look at the numbers and production and what he means to that team, I think he’s underpaid still,” Gonzalez told USA Today.
“If you compare him to all the other elite receivers around the league and leading the league with 16 touchdowns, 1200 yards and 14 yards per catch.
“That’s an elite receiver and he should be paid like one. Just because he’s a tight end and that’s the name of his position he’s going to be paid less.
“I don’t think that’s fair.”
Gonzalez raises an interesting point about the payment structures for differing roles in football teams.
Much like how goalkeepers are rarely amongst the high earners in soccer – despite being at least as important as a striker – wide receivers and tight ends often have their positions used against them.
To Gonzalez, an All-Pro guard who protects the franchise quarterback is more valuable than a mediocre left tackle, and it will be interesting to see how whether his comments affect teams’ actions.
Despite Gonzalez’s stance, Graham will be the highest-paid tight end in NFL history as he makes $10 million per season.