New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski got the raise he wanted, though he’ll have to earn it.
The Patriots have added $4.3 million to the potential value of Gronkowski’s deal this season, giving him $1 million in per-game bonuses and $3.3 million in incentives, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The total maximum value of the deal is now $13.05 million, Schefter reported.
Gronkowski had been seeking a new deal, and many speculated that was behind the retirement talk (and maybe trade rumors) through the early part of the offseason. Now he can go into the regular season with a smile on his face.
Rob Gronkowski well worth the money for Patriots
The Patriots have played hardball with veterans before, and the disconnect between Gronkowski and the team was troubling for a while. Gronkowski floated the idea of stepping away from the game. There were reports the Patriots were at least listening if teams called them with trade offers. All of it seemed to come back to Gronkowski’s contract, which was fine when he signed it but quickly became outdated.
Gronkowski is worth the money. He’s a four-time All-Pro. He’s perhaps the most dominant tight end in NFL history. He’s just 29 years old so he’s still well within his prime.
And with some depth issues at receiver this season, including Julian Edelman’s suspension, the Patriots needed to keep Gronkowski happy.
How can Gronkowski reach his incentives?
Schefter had more details on how Gronkowski can reach the full $3.3 million in incentives.
Gronkowski will make $1.1 million for each of these benchmarks: 70 catches, 80 percent playing time, nine or more touchdowns, 1,085 receiving yards. He can make a maximum of three of the four bonuses for $3.3 million total. That’s on top of his $8 million in base salary, which was unchanged according to Schefter.
Gronkowski can potentially get a healthy raise, if he plays well. At the very least he’ll get some of the $1 million he can make in per-game bonuses.
Gronkowski is signed through 2019
While the reworked contract probably wasn’t exactly what Gronkowski wanted — presumably he’d be happier with that money guaranteed, instead of incentives — it seems to be a compromise both sides are happy with.
Gronkowski is signed for this season and next. He’ll be 30 at the end of his contract, certainly nowhere near the age in which he should fall off. If he wants to keep playing, it will be interesting to see what happens with him and the Patriots in the offseason of 2020.
That’s a long way off, however. For now, the Patriots and one of their best players are on good terms.
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