The New England Patriots made a wise move on Tuesday in restructuring Rob Gronkowski’s deal. The oft-injured tight end played just eight games in 2016.
More NFL contracts should be incentive-laden like that of tight end Rob Gronkowski. The New England Patriots continued to win the offseason by restructuring Gronkowski’s contract on Tuesday. ESPN’s Adam Schefer reported the new deal via Gronk’s agent Drew Rosenhaus.
In summary, Gronkowski can essentially more than double his base salary of $5.25 million simply by having another All-Pro season — literally. Schefter detailed the restructured deal on a tiered basis below…
"First tier, which gets Gronkowski $10.75 million with either 90 percent play time, 80 catches, 1,200 receiving yards or an All-Pro recognition (which he’s made four times).Second tier, which gets Gronkowski $8.75 million if he reaches 80 percent play time, 70 catches, 1,000 receiving yards or 12 touchdowns.Third tier, which gets Gronkowski $6.75 million if he reaches 70 percent playing time, 60 receptions, 800 receiving yards or 10 TDs."
Gronkowski originally signed a six-year contract extension worth $54 million back in 2012. It was the biggest deal ever awarded to a tight end. He played 16 regular-season games each of his first two years in the NFL. Since then, he has suited up for as many as 15 just twice. Last season, he only played eight games and missed the team’s Super Bowl run.
Injuries have obviously impacted Gronkowski’s playing career dating back to college. For that reason, this restructured deal is very smart for both parties. This is the second offseason in a row that New England has acquired another starting-caliber tight end as an insurance policy. In 2016, it was Martellus Bennett. He came in handy as the starter for the first two games and the last eight when Gronk was out. This year, it’s Dwayne Allen.
No matter how things pan out, Gronkowski has the opportunity to be the highest-paid tight end if he can stay on the field. If not, the Patriots will not be paying him much.