Patriots Rumors: Rob Gronkowski May Not Attend OTAs Monday, Contract 'An Issue'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2018

El jugador de los Patriots de Nueva Inglaterra Rob Gronkowski sale del terreno tras el Super Bowl 52 de la NFKL contra los Eagles de Filadelfia el domingo, 4 de febrero del 2018, en Minneapolis, Minnesota. (AP Foto/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

It remains uncertain if New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will attend the team's voluntary organized team activities, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, "as his contract is still an issue."

Pro Football Talk, however, reported Gronkowski may join the OTAs at a later time:

Rapoport added that both Gronkowski and quarterback Tom Brady—who isn't expected to show up for Monday's OTAs—are expected to attend June's mandatory minicamp.

Gronkowski is due to make $8 million in base salary in 2018, per Spotrac.com, with bonuses potentially taking that total up to around $10.9 million. That overall number raises to $12 million in 2019.

Reworking Gronk's contract and extending him is tricky, however. On one hand, the veteran tight end remains dominant when he plays, registering 69 receptions for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns in 14 games. In 102 career games, he's caught 76 touchdown passes, an incredible run of production. 

To put that in perspective, only Antonio Gates (114) and Tony Gonzalez (111) have more touchdown receptions from the tight-end position in NFL history. Gates played in 220 games in his career. Gonzalez appeared in 270.

On the other hand, injuries have remained a consistent storyline in Gronk's career. He's missed 10 games the past two seasons and wasn't available for the 2016 postseason. In his career, he's played in all 16 regular-season games just twice, last accomplishing the feat in 2011.

Gronkowski is now 29, and its fair for the Patriots to question what sort of financial commitment they want to make to the veteran tight end given his injury history. Gronkowski may still be dominant now, but the Patriots have to determine how long they believe he'll maintain that level of play.

As Bucky Brooks of NFL.com wrote, "it is hard to reward an oft-injured player who has played fewer than 400 snaps in two of the team's last five seasons. Thus, it is sensible for the Patriots to continue to sign the soon-to-be 29-year-old to a series of 'pay as you play,' incentive-laden deals that force the five-time Pro Bowler to earn his money on the field."

New England's offseason may be defined by whether Gronkowski agrees to that sort of deal or seeks a contract with greater financial guarantees.

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