Rob Gronkowski, Patriots Agree to New Contract Worth over $13M in 2018

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 30, 2018

CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 24:  Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots warms up before their game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on August 24, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Some thought the New England Patriots would trade Rob Gronkowski. Some thought he'd retire. Instead, he's got a new contract. 

The Patriots and Gronkowski agreed to a revised contract that could be worth up to $13.3 million in 2018, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The deal includes $3.3 million incentives, per Rapoport: $1.1 million for 70 catches, $1.1 million for 1,085 yards, $1.1 million for nine-plus touchdowns and $1.1 million for playing in 80 percent of the team's offensive snaps. He must reach three out of the four extensions to max out. 

The 29-year-old has made five Pro Bowls and was a first-team All-Pro on five occasions, including 2017. He recorded 69 receptions for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns last season, returning to form following an injury-plagued 2016.

If there is any criticism of Gronkowski, it's his inability to stay healthy. He has not played 16 games in a season since 2011 and has suffered injuries to his knees, back and elbow, among others. Some thought the Patriots would move on as he approaches 30.

Gronkowski also contemplated retirement following the Patriots' Super Bowl LII loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. 

Greg Bedard of Boston Sports Journal reported Bill Belichick became wary of the player's lack of commitment and began to consider trading him ahead of the draft.

"I'm not going to speak for anybody else," Belichick told reporters. "So, conversations I've had with the players—and I've had a lot of them—I will keep those private between myself and the player. I respect those coach-to-player conversations. I don't want to speak for anybody else."

Much like it was with Tom Brady, this is much ado about nothing. Gronkowski told the team he would return early in the spring, though he and Brady took a bit of an extended hiatus while waiting for new contracts. Neither player was at voluntary minicamp despite both receiving treatment not too far away at the TB12 clinic. 

Gronkowski entered the offseason as the fourth-highest paid tight end in football on average, behind Jimmy Graham, Travis Kelce and Jordan Reed. 

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