Rob Gronkowski

Latest on Patriots, Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski has been the subject of frequent headlines all offseason. Whether it was trade rumors that turned out to be false, rumblings about a potential retirement, or missing a few OTA’s along with Tom Brady, Gronkowski has stayed in the news. Many speculated that Gronkowski would hold out from training camp after he made his unhappiness with his current contract clear, but that was apparently never an option. Speaking to the media today after practice, Gronkowski said he didn’t “come close to considering” a hold out (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network).

Gronkowski went to great lengths to emphasize his commitment to the team and downplay concerns about his contract, saying he was going to “keep preparing, keep showing up every day. Keep doing what I got to do.” Since Gronkowski had previously not been nearly as forceful, perhaps he’s confident a deal will get done soon. Either way, it’s one less headache for the team in what has been an unusually dramatic offseason in New England.

While it was reported back in June that a new contract for Gronkowski was “likely”, a deal still is yet to be done. It looks as if that might not change anytime soon, as a source told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk that “nothing is imminent” between the two sides. Whenever it does happen, Gronkowski should get a significant raise on his $8MM annual salary.

Gronkowski is clearly unpaid in 2018’s market. As Florio points out, far inferior tight ends such as Trey Burton and Jimmy Graham are making as much as or more than Gronkowsi this year. Back in 2012, Gronkowski signed what was at the time the largest contract ever for a tight end. Our Zach Links recently took a look back at that deal as part of our ‘This Date In Transactions History’ series. Since then, the market for top tight ends has exploded, and Gronkowski’s contract turned into a steal for the Patriots.

Gronk Won’t Hold Out From Patriots

Patriots training camp will get underway soon and Gronk will be in the building. When the Pats convene on July 25, Rob Gronkowski will report on time, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). 

We could see some notable training camp holdouts elsewhere – including Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell – but we won’t see any theatrics from Gronkowski. The tight end has been pushing for a revised contract, but he’ll show up for work with the hope that the team will do right by him.

Gronk, who is signed through the 2019 campaign, is scheduled to earn a base salary of $8MM in 2018. New England has reportedly been working on “tweaking” his deal, but nothing has been agreed upon just yet.

It is is expected that the Pats and Gronk will reach an accord similar to the one from 2017. Last year, Gronk’s deal was revised to give him a base salary of $5.25MM with opportunities to earn incentives at three different levels. With a First-Team All-Pro selection, Gronk maxed out his bonus package at $10.75MM.

Gronk stands to carry the highest cap number of any tight end in the league this year, but you can expect the two sides to boost that number even further in the coming weeks. And, while that all plays out, Gronkowski will be in Foxborough and ready to work.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Rumors: Gronk, Luck, Bell, Broncos

Rob Gronkowski is still operating on a contract he signed in 2012, slightly before he placed his name among the all-time tight end greats, but is committed to returning for a ninth season regardless. Reports of Patriots negotiations with Gronkowski on a revised 2018 deal emerged months ago, but nothing’s been resolved. That’s led some other executives around the conference to believe the Patriots are still motivated to trade their superstar pass-catcher.

Where’s the restructure of his contract?” one AFC personnel executive said, via Greg Bedard of the Boston Sports Journal (via NESN.com). “Until that’s done, I think he’s still available. I wouldn’t be surprised if (Bill) Belichick is going to test Gronk’s buy-in with the contract.”

The Pats are believed to have shopped Gronk to the Texans, Titans, Lions and 49ers. The 29-year-old All-Pro remains on New England’s roster but without the kind of pay-bump possibility 2017’s incentive package brought. Three of the five execs Bedard spoke with believe the Pats and Gronkowski will reach an agreement to redo his deal, but the fact that it hasn’t happened yet opens the door to rumblings of a trade — one that wouldn’t be out of character for Belichick. Two other AFC execs expect a harder fight from the Patriots, given that Gronk hinted at retirement and skipped OTAs.

Here’s the latest on some other AFC standouts:

  • On the topic of impasses for All-Pros, Le’Veon Bell remains focused on a deal that represents a combination of his abilities on the ground and through the air — a demand that could be up to $17MM AAV. Although the Steelers‘ talks with their star running back resumed, they are still unlikely to produce a long-term deal, Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes. Fittipaldo is the latest to confirm Bell turned down a contract proposal that would have ensured he made $30MM in 2017 and ’18, adding it was a five-year offer. Bell’s entrance to the league as a 2013 second-round pick, and a player who has earned less than 2016 first-rounder Ezekiel Elliott (since Bell has yet to sign his $14.5MM 2018 tender, this is still accurate), is helping drive Bell to take this hardline stance, per Fittipaldo.
  • While this isn’t exactly full confirmation, signs point to Andrew Luck participating in a passing summit with some of his pass-catchers at his alma mater. Colts wide receiver Chester Rogers tweeted he’s off to Stanford, where Luck spends time training during the offseason. Mike Chappell of Fox 59 assumes Luck will be throwing Rogers and others as he continues the final stages of his exhaustive rehab program. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t qualify as particularly newsworthy. But considering Luck’s progress in June, every throw the passer makes will be relevant as he prepares to surmount what’s been a significant hurdle to return to the field.
  • Chris Harris has some interesting incentives in his contract, one the Broncos adjusted this year. The standout cornerback’s been attached to an incredibly team-friendly deal the past four years, and the Broncos added $3MM in incentives. Some of those escalators can only be triggered by team success, with the six-, eight- and 10-win benchmarks representing possible six-figure bumps for the 29-year-old corner. Harris preferred that being part of his contract. “Last year was unacceptable as a team,” Harris said, via Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic (subscription required) in an expansive piece on Denver’s DBs. “This year I’m putting that in my contract to make sure these guys are on the same page as me, how I think on the field and prepare them for games.”
  • Jhabvala adds that Denver’s Su’a Cravens addition could threaten Will Parks‘ role more than anyone else’s. The third-year defender serves as a backup safety and occasional dime linebacker, and Cravens looks set to make a strong push to assume that role for a team that gave up a fifth-round pick to get him. The Broncos were said to view Cravens strictly as a safety, but the former second-round pick played a hybrid role with the Redskins in 2016.

East Rumors: Patriots, Lawrence, Giants

Despite an offseason that included retirement rumors, contract frustration and trade talks, Rob Gronkowski appears to be sufficiently ready to put some of this behind him. The Patriots‘ future Hall of Fame tight end attributed his time away from the team to determining whether he could handle the rigors of a ninth season.

I am refreshed,” Gronkowski told NFL.com’s Willie McGinest (via NBC Sports Boston). “You know after the season, long seasons, how your body can feel and everything. I just wanted to see where I was at, and see how I can get my body feeling, see if I can handle it, endure it again, and I feel like I’m super ready, man.”

Gronkowski remains without an adjusted contract, despite the sides being rumored to be close to finalizing one. Gronk has not been connected to a training camp holdout just yet, though given his injury history and actions this offseason, one can’t necessarily be ruled out. But the 29-year-old tight end is set to return for the Patriots, which will be even more important than it usually is considering Julian Edelman will miss a second straight September.

Here’s the latest from New England and some other cities whose teams play in Eastern divisions.

  • After Danielle Hunter‘s extension, Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston identifies Trey Flowers as a prime candidate to cash in. However, Flowers’ Patriots employment may delay a big deal. The Patriots have traded away defenders with higher profiles in recent years, dealing Jamie Collins and future All-Pro Chandler Jones, so Curran warns this situation could be slow-played — particularly because of the Hunter deal — past Flowers’ 2018 contract year. Although, Hunter’s $12MM-AAV extension can be considered a team-friendly pact given his age and potential. Flowers led the AFC champions with 6.5 sacks last season and looks to again be the team’s best edge-rushing presence.
  • With less than two weeks left until the deadline for teams to sign franchise-tagged players to extensions, might the Cowboys consider letting DeMarcus Lawrence play on the tag? The Cowboys may be somewhat skittish about the defensive end’s injury history, per Jori Epstein of the Dallas Morning News, and would like to see if Lawrence can duplicate his breakout 2017 season. While Lawrence is set to count $17MM-plus toward Dallas’ 2018 cap, the team already finalized an extension with Zack Martin and still has $14.8MM worth of cap space. And the Cowboys did not replace Dez Bryant or Jason Witten with big-money pass-catchers, so they may now be in position to take a wait-and-see approach with Lawrence.
  • The Giants added backup safety/special-teamer Michael Thomas in late March, before it became clear something was amiss with the safety market. Thomas signed for two years and $4MM, which gave the expected backup a better deal than longtime Chiefs starter Ron Parker received from the Falcons last week. Needless to say, Thomas believes something is up and connects it to Eric Reid‘s status as a free agent. “I was never worried, but collusion is real,” Thomas said about his free agency, via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. “I understand that, but it was a blessing in disguise. The Giants organization was the right situation for me.” Thomas isn’t the first outside of Reid to connect the former 49er’s offseason to the slowed safety market. Reid remains embroiled in a grievance with the NFL over his unemployment, which he connects to his involvement in the racial inequality-themed protests of the past two years.

Patriots Shopped Gronk To Four Teams

The Patriots deny having shopped Rob Gronkowski this offseason, but evidence to the contrary is mounting. The Pats engaged in trade talks with the Lions, Titans, Texans, and 49ers, Albert Breer of The MMQB told FS1 (transcription via NESN). 

[RELATED: Will 2018 Be Shaq Mason’s Last Year With Pats?]

Recently, we learned the Patriots were discussing deals involving Gronk as recently as three days before the draft. Meanwhile, Mike Florio of PFT hears from a league source that the Patriots had conversations with more clubs than the four listed by Breer. However, a deal was never close enough for the Pats to talk to the tight end about the possibility. When Gronk put the retirement rumors to rest in April, it seems that the trade discussions were also 86’d.

Breer hears that the Patriots only discussed a potential Gronkowski trade with teams they “trust.” The tentacles of the Patriots extend to all four teams: Lions GM Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia used to work for the Pats, Texans head coach Bill O’Brien previously served as the Pats’ offensive coordinator, Titans head coach Mike Vrabel played for the Pats and GM Jon Robinson spent more than ten years in New England, and Bill Belichick has a solid relationship with 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan.

For now, it seems like Gronk is staying put, but the Patriots weren’t entirely truthful when they threw water on the latest round of trade rumors. The two sides will likely hammer out a revised contract between now and the start of the season, but it’s still a situation worth monitoring.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Discussed Gronk Trade

Patriots owner Robert Kraft says last week’s trade buzz surrounding Rob Gronkowski was nothing but “hogwash.” However, it sounds like the Patriots did explore trading the tight end earlier in the offseason. The Pats were calling other teams about a possible Gronkowski trade as recently as three days before the draft, a league source tells Mike Florio of PFT

Incidentally, Gronkowski decided against retirement just two days before the draft, so one can’t help but wonder if the two events were related. It’s not clear how close the Patriots were to trading Gronkowski in the spring, or what they were seeking, but the notion of trading the tight end has at least been considered in New England.

In 2017, Gronk was on the field for 14 games, and managed 69 receptions, 1,084 yards, and eight touchdowns, all of which placed him within the top five among tight ends. When healthy, he is the most fearsome offensive weapon at his position and among the most dynamic talents in the game.

Gronk, who is signed through the 2019 campaign, is scheduled to earn a base salary of $8MM in 2018. New England has reportedly been working on “tweaking” his deal, but nothing has been agreed upon just yet.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pats Owner: “No Truth” To Gronk Trade Talk

The internet was abuzz with unsubstantiated rumors of Rob Gronkowski potentially being traded last week. On Tuesday, Patriots owner Robert Kraft felt compelled to set the record straight and let everyone know that such talk was “hogwash.” 

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Kraft even went so far as to say “that was never in the works…that was just completely made up.” One could be forgiven for being skeptical about that part of Kraft’s statement. After Gronkowski threatened to retire in the offseason – potentially because of his unhappiness with the “Patriot Way” – it would have made sense for the Patriots to explore a Gronkowski trade.

Although Gronkowski (and Tom Brady) reported to the Pats last week, the duo is not expected to reappear for team practices until July. Between now and September, you can expect the Pats and Gronkowski to discuss some revisions to the tight end’s contract. If those talks don’t produce results, the Gronk trade speculation could pick up once again.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Brady, Gronkowski

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski reported to the Patriots last week, but they won’t be around for the team’s remaining practices in the month of June. The two stars are not slated to take part in the final few OTAs this week, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. With that, Brady and Gronk are not expected to report to the club until July when training camp gets underway.

The arrival of the two players last week was viewed as a positive sign for their relationships with the team and their contractual situations. To date, neither player has received a new deal, and it’s still not clear whether that is part of Brady’s agenda. A revised pact seems likely for the tight end, though nothing is imminent on that front.

For all of the rumors of discord in New England, there is every reason to believe that both players will be in uniform for the team in September. A new round of trade speculation circled around Gronkowski last week, but there’s no basis for such talk.

Brady, predictably, has said very little about reports of a rift between him and coach Bill Belichick.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Patriots, Rob Gronkowski

A new contract for Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is “likely,” a source tells Mike Florio of PFT. However, “nothing is imminent” on that front. 

[RELATED: Gronk Addresses Trade Rumors]

It has been expected that the Pats and Gronk would reach an accord similar to the one from 2017. Last year, Gronk’s deal was revised to give him a base salary of $5.25MM with opportunities to earn incentives at three different levels. With a First-Team All-Pro selection, Gronk maxed out his bonus package at $10.75MM.

This time around, Gronkowski’s camp may push for a meld of incentives and a boost to his base compensation. After all, Gronk did return from his injury-shortened 2016 to rack up more than 1,000 yards receiving and eight touchdowns while also coming up big in two of the Patriots’ three postseason contests. Gronkowski has already vowed to put his dreams of acting and pro wrestling on the back burner, but a sweetened deal may help to keep his focus on the field in 2018.

Six years ago this week, the Patriots and Gronk agreed to a deal to make him the highest-paid tight end in league history. Gronk stands to carry the highest cap number of any tight end in the league this year, but you can expect the two sides to boost that number even further in the coming weeks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Rob Gronkowski Trade Rumors

On Friday morning, Twitter became flooded with rumors of a potential Rob Gronkowski trade. However, it appears that Patriots fans can breathe easy. There is “zero truth” to rumblings of the Patriots trading Gronkowski, a source tells Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston (on Twitter). 

[On This Date In 2012: Gronkowski, Patriots Agree To Record-Setting Six-Year Extension]

At Pro Football Rumors, we typically do not go out of our way to address rumors from unsubstantiated sources, but the word of a potential Gronkowski trade has dominated the Twittersphere for several hours. Given the Patriots’ history of embracing the next-man-up mentality, a trade of the most dominant tight end in the game would be a surprise, but hardly an impossibility.

Gronkowski stayed away for much of the Patriots’ voluntary offseason team activities this year in an apparent effort to have his contract reworked. His arrival in Foxboro this week seemed to signal that a resolution was on the horizon, but the two sides have yet to hammer out a revised deal. Gronkowski’s brief flirtation with retirement this offseason could also be a signal that the “Patriot Way” has grown tiresome for him.

One source who has been with the Patriots for years told Curran (Twitter link) the team’s treatment of Gronk at the start of 2017 was similar to how other players have been treated before being dealt. Of course, that doesn’t mean a whole lot in and of itself, and the tight end was not traded last year.

So, for now, we can put the Gronkowski trade rumors to rest. While major trades are more commonplace than ever in the NFL and Bill Belichick‘s methodology remains unpredictable, there’s no reason to believe that Gronkowski will be in another uniform in 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.