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Jermaine Gresham got paid, now he needs to be used

Gresham's payday shines the light on the lack of tight end utilization in Arizona.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

There's been quite the turnover on the defensive side of the ball for the Arizona Cardinals, while the offense is basically the same.

There will likely be a new right guard, D.J. Humphries and Jared Veldheer are switching places, but overall, the sixth ranked scoring offense is back in the saddle for 2017.

There needs to be one change though and that is utilizing Jermaine Gresham and his talents more.

Since the 2012 season, where Bruce Arians was the offensive coordinator and interim head coach for the Indianapolis Colts, the tight end position has gone by the wayside.

In ‘12, the Colts had two rookies, Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener combine for 71 catches for 802 yards and five touchdowns.

Since then, the top two tight ends in Arians offense:

2013 65 catches 669 yards three touchdowns

2014 42 catches 479 yards one touchdown

2015 39 catches 534 yards four touchdowns

2016 51 catches 545 yards three touchdowns

For goodness sakes, Rob Housler may have had the single most productive season of any tight end under Arians in Arizona.

That doesn't make any sense.

While there are plenty of weapons on the offense, the lack of involvement from the tight ends is a bit concerning when you now look at how much the Cardinals have invested.

Gresham is getting paid as a top ten tight end in the NFL, despite not being used as one in the offense.

He's a good enough blocker, but his work in the offense needs to be worth the new investment, financially, or it makes no sense.

A year like Allen and Fleener had in 2012 would be best case, he'll a year like 2013 with Rob Housler and Jim Dray would make the investment, along with Gresham's continued blocking prowess, worthwhile.

It is not going to be on Gresham if he's underutilized again, but it won't have been a good contract if we see another sub 40 catch season from a $7 million tight end.