Tight end is one of the most important positions in football.
Not only are these big-bodied players expected to catch passes, they also serve as a de facto sixth lineman in certain offensive schemes.
With their increasing responsibilities, tight ends across the league have seen an uptick in their salaries. That became even more evident when the Las Vegas Raiders inked Darren Waller to a reported three-year, $51 million extension on Saturday. Waller’s deal came two days after the Buffalo Bills locked in Dawson Knox with a four-year extension worth $53.6 million.
Here’s a breakdown of NFL tight end salaries ahead of the 2022 season (via Spotrac):
Who is the highest-paid tight end in the NFL?
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle is the highest-paid tight end in the NFL this season at $15 million. Kittle, 28, signed a five-year, $75 million extension with the 49ers back in 2020, keeping him in the Bay through the 2025 season.
Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs is just behind Kittle, as he’ll earn $14,312,500 in 2022 while catching passes from Patrick Mahomes. Kelce leads all tight ends with 704 receptions since he was drafted in 2013.
Waller reportedly has a base salary of $25 million over the first two years of his new deal, giving him an expected 2022 salary of $12.5 million.
Knox, meanwhile, will play the 2022 season under the final season of his rookie deal before his extension kicks in for 2023.
Who is the lowest-paid tight end in the NFL?
There are 179 tight ends under contract in the NFL, and the Bills’ Tommy Sweeney will make the least amount of money in 2022 at $654,046. Sweeney, 27, was a seventh-round pick by the Bills in 2019. He started three games last season, totaling nine receptions and one touchdown.
Five other players are just ahead of Sweeney, making $660,000: Zach Davidson (Minnesota Vikings), Joc Fortson (Kansas City Chiefs), Kenny Yeboah (New York Jets), Brock Wright (Detroit Lions) and Tyler Mabry (Seattle Seahawks).
Who are the highest-paid tight ends in the NFL?
In total, there are 12 tight ends making at least $10 million this season. Here’s a look at the top 20 tight ends by 2022 salary:
1. George Kittle, 49ers: $15 million
2. Travis Kelce, Chiefs: $14.3 million
3. Dallas Goedert, Eagles: $14.25 million
4. Mark Andrews, Ravens: $14 million
5. David Njoku, Browns: $13.7 million*
T-6. Darren Waller, Raiders: $12.5 million
T-6. Jonnu Smith, Patriots: $12.5 million
T-9. Mike Gesicki, Dolphins: $10.93 million**
T-9. Dalton Schultz, Cowboys: $10.93 million**
11. Zach Ertz, Cardinals: $10.55 million*
12. Tayson Hill, Saints: $10 million
13. Evan Engram, Jaguars: $9 million*
14. Kyle Pitts, Falcons: $8.23 million
15. Logan Thomas, Commanders: $8.02 million
T-16. C.J. Uzomah, Jets: $8 million*
T-16. Will Dissly, Seahawks: $8 million*
18. Tyler Higbee, Rams: $7.25 million
19. Cameron Brate, Buccaneers: $6.8 million
20. Tyler Conklin, Jets: $6.75 million*
*signed new contract this offseason
**playing on franchise tag tender in 2022