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Sharpe: Jimmy Graham should be 'highest-paid' TE

Jimmy Graham's arbitration hearing remains one of the key storylines during this dead period before training camp.

With the New Orleans Saints player arguing he should be paid at a wide receiver-level -- rather than at the tight end-level, which yields $5 million less -- players in hybrid roles are interested in how his case turns out.

Rookie tight end Eric Ebron went so far as to say Tuesday that he'd like to change the name of the position from tight end to "joker" or "hybrid" to create a better distinction for primarily pass-catching tight ends.

On Wednesday's edition of NFL AM, Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe chimed in on the chatter.

"I think (Graham) should be the highest-paid tight end," Sharpe said. "I think he should be the first tight end to make $10 million a year, but at the end of the day, look, you are a tight end."

Sharpe -- who ended his 14-year career with 815 receptions for 10,060 yards during an era when the passing game wasn't as prevalent -- said the pay should come into line with production, but the position is still the same.

"Eric Ebron can dress it up, he can say he's a joker, he can say hybrid or whatever he wants to call it, but at the end of the day you go to the Pro Bowl as a tight end and if you are fortunate enough, if you play long enough and if your teams win enough games you'll go to the Hall of Fame as a tight end," Sharpe said. "You're not going to go as a joke or hybrid or quote-unquote wide receiver, that's not going to happen."

Sharpe gets that it's all about the money, but at the end of the day a tight end is still a tight end.

"I understand why they do it, but at the end of the day you are a tight end," he said. "Just because the running back, he lines up out wide and he catches a lot of passes, well, now what? Is he a wide receiver? No, he's a running back."

In the latest episode of the "Around The League Podcast," the guys discuss Rob Gronkowski's expected return to action and Cordarrelle Patterson's potential rise this season.

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