The big trigger in Gronk’s extension is for 2015. Here’s the gist of it:
Gronkowski is set to make $15 million alone in 2015, in the form of $5 million in salary (which is guaranteed only for injury but not for cap or production purposes), as well as a $10 million option bonus that the Patriots could opt to pick up at any point in the 2015 league year. Numerous sources who reviewed this contract said they highly doubt New England picks up that $10 million option, which would make Gronk a free agent.
Should New England pick up that bonus, that triggers Gronkowski’s deal from 2016-2019 (worth $27 million). Given Gronkowski’s run of injuries — it stands to reason he opens 2014 on the Physically Unable To Perform List and returns to the team midseason — and the calculated manner with which Bill Belichick often operates, it’s quite likely this situation is resolved even before the 2015 season.
Gronkowski makes $3.75M in 2014 — quite cheap even given his injuries — and he made just $660,000 this season.
Honestly, I think the cards are stacked against Gronk. He needs not only to stay healthy in 2014 but prove that he’s still the uber-elite tight end we saw in 2011.
And unfortunately for him, he has to do it coming off an ACL, an injury that usually takes a full year to get totally healthy from.
I love Gronk as much as any uber Pats fan, but this could very well be his last year in a Pats uniform.
PatsPropaganda is written and edited by Mike Dussault, a card-carrying Belichickian. He has a soft spot for hard core X's and O's, and believes in "throw to score, run to win", low pad level, and touchdown celebrations that last two weeks.
He is a Patriots Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report, and his work has been featured on FoxSports.com, Yahoo Sports, and SI.com. He also co-hosts the weekly PatsPropaganda & Frenz Podcast with Bleacher Report's AFC East Editor Erik Frenz.
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