Greg Olsen: Tight ends as a group are underpaid

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Greg Olsen made $69.198 million in his 14-year NFL career, but a $6.5 million base salary in 2018 is the most he ever received in a single season.

In a recent appearance on Pardon My Take, Olsen said tight ends are not paid enough compared to left tackles and receivers. Olsen’s point is: Tight ends block like left tackles and run routes and catch passes like receivers. Yet, left tackles and receivers are paid more on average.

“We have to do the same s— that a $15 million left tackle has to do and run the same routes against the same guy that a $15 million wide receiver has to run routes against, and they’re going to pay us $7 million,” Olsen said.

Twenty left tackles average more than $7 million per season led by Trent Williams‘ $23.01 million average with the 49ers, and 32 receivers average more than $7 million per season led by DeAndre Hopkins‘ $27.25 million average with the Cardinals, per Only 12 tight ends average more than $7 million per season led by George Kittle‘s $15 million annual average with the 49ers.

Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts signed his rookie deal Tuesday. In the fourth overall draft slot, he received $32.9 million fully guaranteed over four years, with a signing bonus just over $21 million. It made him the seventh-highest paid player at his position before he ever plays a down.

17 responses to “Greg Olsen: Tight ends as a group are underpaid

  1. The average TE blocks nothing like a good LT. To pretend they do is a slap in the face to anyone who understands the game. There are very few TEs that have a huge impact on the game like a top LT or WR.

  2. Greg is missing the point that in a free market, the market will pay for what it’s worth. So he can complain if he wants to, but it’s on his shoulders to raise his value to the point where a team will pay him more.

  3. Only 70m. Instead of being thankful that you were gifted with the talents to be an NFL player you are complaining about the compensation.

    I’m sorry you weren’t gifted with the talents to be a QB or a LT or a WR. Then you would have made even more money. I guess you just aren’t that lucky. /sarcasm

  4. Most of the new breed of tight ends are over-sized wideouts that don’t even line up tight to the line of scrimmage.

    Dudes like Gronkowski and Earl (Heath) Miller are real all-around tight ends.

  5. The biggest problem for TEs looking for bigger dollars is that there are so so few really good ones. The NFL has always had an endless supply of big, moderately athletic guys who are kinda skilled but not great. So many of those who can catch can’t block and vice-versa. And most of those who can catch can’t get away from defenders.

  6. TE, RB, Safety, and off-ball LB are the lowest paid positions for two reasons: their career expectancy and value over replacement.

  7. I have a mostly good impression of him. HOWEVER, when you make about 100X the average income (instead of 200X), your whining fails the sympathy test. Wizwix above got it right: Make yourself more valuable, and you will probably get paid more.

  8. Many TEs are the best receiver on their team, and that’s when they spend half their time blocking. Most undervalued position in sports – it’s why the best teams load up on em… Baltimore, Kansas City, New England, etc always have deep pockets in TEs

  9. If you think you’re underpaid, go get a different job in the real world. Bet that’ll make you value your money differently.

  10. RB’s are underpaid relative to other positions. If you aren’t getting hit by multiple guys on a run, you’ve got to block LBs running full speed at your QB.

  11. Let’s turn this around – using his logic. If you are not good enough to be a OT, then be a TE. If you are not good enough to be a WR, then be a TE. If you are not good enough to be OT or WR… then you will be paid less.

  12. It is quite unfortunate that Greg Olsen missed OC Shane Waldron by a year. The Tight End position tends to be under utilized, given the player’s size and strength. I think that a jumbo package with two Tight Ends is particularly useful. Think knight instead of bishop.

    Sadly, specialists tend to be compensated more than generalists, who may actually have a greater skillset.

  13. Greg Olsen: Tight ends as a group are underpaid

    As are the top RBs, AD got a $100mil/7yr contract($14.29mil a year average) way back in 2011, a few RBs(damn few) should be getting $18-$20mil/yr now especially when it’s the second most important position on the offense and they have 2.5 to 4 times the touches any other position player does and they’re a lot harder to find, there’s easily 5X as many great WRs and TEs as there are RBs!

    And don’t even get me started on the metric for RBs now, 1000yds/season, hasn’t moved since 1960 when there were only 12 games a season, with 16 games 1000yds is ONLY 62.5YPG and starting this season a 1000yd season will ONLY be an average of 58.82YPG, nothing special!

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