BOSTON (CBS) — After a rather strange offseason, Rob Gronkowski and the New England Patriots have agreed to a reworked contract that should keep the team and the tight end happy for at least one more season.
The Patriots and Gronkowski reached an agreement that could add up to $4.3 million to his current deal, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, which could boost his 2018 earnings to $13.05 million.
The new deal includes an extra $1 million in per game bonuses, and up to $3.3 million in incentives according to Schefter. Gronk will earn $1.1 million if he finishes the season with 70 or more catches, $1.1 million if he plays 80 percent or more, $1.1 million for nine or more touchdown receptions, and another $1.1 for finishing the year with 1,085 receiving yards. He can only cash in on three of the four incentives.
In 14 games last season, Gronkowski had 69 catches for 1,084 receiving yards, eight touchdowns, and played 79.3 percent of New England’s snaps. The 29-year-old missed one game due to a thigh injury, missed another game due to a suspension, and recorded no snaps in the team’s Week 17 win. So there’s a very good chance Gronkowski hits on all of his bonuses this season, especially with Tom Brady’s depleted wide receiving corps.
This is the second time in as many offseasons that Gronkowski has had incentives worked into his current deal. After the tight end established himself as a game changer through his first two seasons, the Patriots signed Gronkowski to a contract extension in 2012, which at the time was the largest contract ever for a tight end. Last year, the Patriots agreed to reworked terms for the 2017 season, which allowed the tight end to make more money based on incentives. He reached the highest tier of payment, on account of making the First Team All-Pro, which set him up to be due for a pay cut in 2018. The restructure this offseason was worked to remedy that.
However, it was not always certain that such an agreement could be reached. Even before Super Bowl LII began, a report surfaced saying that Gronkowski would consider retirement after the game. After the loss, Gronkowski was noncommittal to his football future. Rumors and speculation of Gronkowski considering a career either in professional wrestling or in Hollywood dominated the news cycle for a stretch, and Gronkowski seemed to take a passive-aggressive shot at the Patriots in a social media post.
The offseason of Gronk culminated with a bizarre press conference, held at Gillette Stadium prior to a Monster Supercross event, for which Gronkowski arrived wearing a helmet and refusing to talk about football. Shortly after that press conference, Gronkowski and his agent met with Belichick, and Gronkowski announced that he would indeed be returning to the Patriots in 2018. Still, along with quarterback Tom Brady, Gronkowski was a no-show for the Patriots’ offseason workouts through the start of OTAs.
But now Gronkowski has the reworked deal he wanted and more incentives to keep putting up monster numbers for the Patriots. He currently has two years remaining on the deal.