By MyFM's Jake Archer - The Patriots continue to stay busy even in May, as the past two days have seen them make two somewhat surprising moves. First, yesterday the Pats restructured star tight end Rob Gronkowski’s contract. Gronkowski’s new deal can make him the highest paid tight end in the league, if he hits his incentives.
Gronkowski’s salary for 2017 can be improved from $5.25 million to $10.75 million depending on how available he is, and how he performs. If Gronk either plays 90 percent of the time, records 80 catches, is selected as an All Pro or gains 1,200 yards, he will reach “Tier 1” of the deal and earn the maximum salary.
In “Tier 2” Gronk must either play 80 percent of the time, register 70 catches, 1,000 yards or 12 touchdowns. This would earn him $8.75 million. “Tier 3” would be worth $6.75 million and will be achieved if he plays 70 percent of the time, grabs 60 receptions, 800 yards or 10 touchdowns.
I love this deal, because it rewards Gronkowski as long as he can stay healthy, which has been his biggest issue. I have no doubt that if healthy; he’ll achieve the lofty statistics and be well worth the price tag. If he isn’t healthy, then he gets his regular salary and he can’t complain about being underpaid, which I think he has in the past.
For reference, in each of the past three years Gronkowski’s playing time has been at 70.3% in 2014, 84.2% in 2015 and 31.5% in 2016. He isn’t exactly the picture of health, so this deal is really a no-lose for the Pats. Gronk will want to be out on the field, which is another question some have had about him in the past, and if he’s out there and performing the Patriots will be unstoppable.
The most important ability is availability and now the team will be protected by an incentive-laden deal that will pay Gronkowski what he deserves. To get to “Tier 1” Gronk will have to have an outstanding season and if he does, he’ll be a bargain.
Anyway, today the Patriots added another weapon to their offense in former Cleveland Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins. Hawkins apparently turned down quite a few better offers because he desperately wanted to play in New England and catch balls from Tom Brady. Who could blame him? But it’s an interesting move considering how many wideouts the Pats already have on the roster.
Hawkins comes in on a one-year deal and is coming off of two sub-par seasons. He has shown flashes of promise before even on some Browns teams that had no quarterback to really get him the ball. It will be interesting to see how he fits in with what is already a loaded group of Patriots pass catchers.