New England Patriots 2016 Player Grade: Rob Gronkowski
By Matty Simo
The New England Patriots did not get much from Rob Gronkowski in 2016. But what they did get from him was great, so how did he rate?
The New England Patriots know what they get from tight end Rob Gronkowski when he is on the field. Gronk remains a matchup nightmare for opposing NFL teams. The problem recently though is keeping him on the field, period.
Injuries have mainly determined whether or not Gronkowski has turned in an All-Pro campaign throughout his seven-year career. In four of the five seasons Gronkowski has played more than eight games, he has been a Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro performer.
Unfortunately for Gronk and the Patriots, 2016 was not one of those years. First, a hamstring injury sidelined him for the first two regular-season games. Then a back injury suffered against the New York Jets in Week 12 forced him to miss the rest of the year, as he opted for season-ending surgery.
However, in four of the eight games Gronkowski did play, he was fantastic. In Tom Brady’s first two games back from his suspension, Gronkowski totaled 12 receptions for 271 yards and one touchdown. In the next two, he was nearly as good, making nine catches for 202 yards and scoring two more touchdowns. He would finish with 540 yards and three scores.
Next: New England Patriots Roster Recap: Tight Ends
Considering how well Gronkowski played during that crucial four-game stretch in which New England went 4-0, it’s hard to give him any worse than a C grade overall. The problem is, nearly 88 percent of his yardage came in those four games. Fortunately, the Patriots also had Martellus Bennett, who had 701 yards and seven touchdowns.
New England restructured Gronkowski’s contract on Tuesday, which makes perfect sense. If he bounces back with an A-caliber season and wins Comeback Player of the Year, he will be the highest-paid tight end in the NFL. If not, the Pats won’t really be wasting any money.