By: Will Burchfield
Golden Tate doesn't want to be misunderstood.
He also doesn't want to be underpaid.
The wide receiver is entering the fourth year of a five-year, $31 million contract he signed in 2014. He doesn't believe that's fair market value for his services.
Asked if he feels he's underpaid, Tate said on Tuesday, "Statistically and looking at some of those who have been paid in the past, yes. But that's the contract I signed. I signed a deal coming off four years ago and I'm gonna try to play that out the best I can and help this team win."
Last week, after the Patriots' Julian Edelman landed a two-year extension that will pay him up to $19.5 million through 2019, Tate took to Twitter to defend his own case for an extension.
Tate's Tweet referenced a ProFootballFocus graphic that showed he has forced more missed tackles than any NFL receiver since 2014. Edelman has forced the fifth most in that span.
"It was just kind of goofing around, I saw that my buddy got paid. Obviously, along with winning, that's the goal as a professional athlete. If I can stay healthy I feel like I could be one of the next guys to get that," Tate said.
Over the past four seasons, Edelman has averaged 89 catches for 956 yards and five touchdowns. He's also helped the Patriots capture two Super Bowl championships.
"One thing I'm sure that helped Edelman get his extension is that his team is winning consistently. So that's where I wanna do my part and help us win consistently, and then I think everything will work out exactly how it's supposed to work out. But I don't want anyone to take that the wrong way, like I was, you know, being a --" Tate said, before pausing and searching for the first right word.
When a reporter suggested 'Prima donna,' Tate sighed and replied, "Yeah."
A case could be made that Tate is indeed underpaid. He ranks sixth in receptions and tenth in yards among NFL wide receivers since the 2014 season. In average annual salary, meanwhile, he ranks 26th.
"But I don't want that to take away that I signed a five-year contract, and that's my commitment. I'm gonna give five years of my best effort trying to help this team win. But it'd be nice to get into talks or something," he said.
Asked if he's had any discussions with the Lions about a potential extension, Tate said, "No, no. Like I said, I've got two full seasons until my contract is up. That's kind of a long time and a lot could happen between now and then, but hopefully I'm valued by this city, this organization enough to keep around for longer."
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