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Tony Gonzalez: ‘NFL discriminates against tight ends’

Gonzo-Graham

Former NFL tight end and future Hall Of Famer Tony Gonzalez has turned media, and is using his new platform to speak out about Jimmy Graham. In a detailed article on CBSSports.com, Gonzalez defends Graham saying he deserves more money, even going as far as saying as the NFL is discriminating against tight ends.

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” but the one that makes the most sense is “discrimination.” Salaries should be set based on production and contributions, not positions.

Despite having stats and production like an elite wide receive, an arbitrator ruled that Graham was indeed a tight end and not a wide receiver, costing him over $5 million on the franchise tag.

Gonzalez goes on to point out that the NFL is the only league in which players’ positions determine their salary. While breaking down numbers, and reflecting on contract situations in which he has gone through, Gonzalez then dipped into the reality of Jimmy Graham’s situation and how it stacks up against wide receivers.

But let’s do some quick math. I anticipate he will sign somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million per year over five years, which is great money. But an elite wide receiver will make $14 million-$16 million per season. Let’s say we even round down and give that receiver $13 million a year over the same span of five years; Jimmy Graham will miss out on $15 million as a tight end that he would make if classified as a receiver. Let’s not forget that Graham is young and could easily play another 10 years, which means the same thing could happen to him for his next contract. He would miss out on that same $15 million again.

That is $30 million he won’t get because he’s called a tight end and because the NFL slots salaries based on position names instead of by production. So in light of Wednesday’s decision against Jimmy Graham, it’s not just a loss for him but a loss for every player that wears the shield.

Gonzalez clearly supporting his fraternity of NFL brothers, sticking up for the tight end position, and Graham himself, he says it’s not about the money, “it’s about what’s right”.

The Graham situation is likely not going to get resolved in a perfect case scenario that pleases both Jimmy Graham and the New Orleans Saints, but a deal should get done. No matter what contract details are agreed to, because of his tight end position, Graham will make less than he should, and Tony Gonzalez doesn’t agree with that.

Follow Mike Pendleton on Twitter @MP2310

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Photo credit: (WhoDatDish.com)

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