Patriots Nation was all smiles when the team announced they were picking up the option on Rob Gronkowski’s contract Monday. The move will keep the All-World tight end in Foxboro through the 2019 season.
But will Gronk’s deal turn out to be a headache for the Patriots and their fans?
Once the deal was done, Gronk sent out this tweet:
If ya think about it that Option pick up basically equals pay cut the next 4 seasons… I don’t work hard for those reasons. Haha
— Rob Gronkowski (@RobGronkowski) March 8, 2016
So was Gronk just having some fun at his own expense or was he delivering a not-so-subtle message to the Patriots?
The bottom line is that the 26-year-old Gronkowski is underpaid by NFL standards.
Monday night, the Colts re-signed tight end Dwayne Allen to a four-year extension that will pay him $29.4 million, including a $12 million salary for this year. Allen — who is the same age as Gronk — caught a whopping 16 passes in 2015. Gronk hauled in 72 passes and 11 touchdowns. The best tight end in the world will average $9 million in salary the next four years and will be passed financially by tight ends who could not shine his cleats in the coming years.
Gronk will be 30 years old when his contract with the Patriots expires. With his injury history, it will be difficult for him to cash in big time at that age, especially with the mileage he will have accumulated on his body by then.
So what is Gronk to do? He could be the good soldier and can reason that he chose long-term security over a bigger payday. Or he could make the Patriots life miserable and hold out one of these summers for a new deal. Tom Brady is also signed through 2019. We have seen how important Gronk is to Brady and the Patriots offense. And ugly holdout would be bad for both sides.
For now, here is hoping that Gronk’s tweet was all in good fun. If not, it could pit the NFL’s best tight end against the strong resolve of the Patriots organization.
That’s a battle no one in New England wants to see.