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Joel Dreessen: Low pay for tight ends is frustrating

Joel Dreessen

Denver Broncos tight end Joel Dreessen (81) walks off the field after the Baltimore Ravens won 38-35 in overtime of an AFC divisional playoff NFL football game, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)


Add Denver’s Joel Dreessen to the list of NFL tight ends who aren’t thrilled with the way they get paid.

Dreessen said on SiriusXM NFL Radio that in the wake of Saints tight end Jimmy Graham losing his arbitration ruling, tight ends are feeling underpaid. Dreessen agreed with Tony Gonzalez, who said players should be paid based on production, not their position.

“It actually kind of strikes a nerve,” Dreessen said. “Tight end was historically one of the lowest-paid positions in the league. We don’t get paid as much as offensive linemen, we certainly don’t get paid as much as wide receivers for those top-tier contracts. But we’re asked to do so much. We’re asked to play special teams, we’ve got to know every single pass pattern, protection and run game. So it’s kind of frustrating that the guys who get asked to do probably the second most behind the quarterback are kind of down there on the pay scale.”

Dreessen is a backup who caught only seven passes last season, so it’s not like he would be making top-shelf money even if elite tight ends were paid as much as elite wide receivers. But on principle, he believes the best tight ends’ contracts should be on par with the contracts of the best wide receivers in the NFL. In reality, the tight end pay scale is well behind the scale for wide receivers.