Published: Wed, May 24, 2017
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Gronk could earn top dollar with restructured deal

Gronk could earn top dollar with restructured deal

After subtle pokes in the past about being underpaid, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has a chance to become the highest paid tight end in the National Football League, if he can stay healthy and produce.

The Patriots star tight end is entering year six of his eight-year contract, and would surpass Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham ($10 million) as the NFL's highest-paid tight end in 2017 if he reaches the first tier of his restructured contract. Shefter laid out how the contract is setup and how the Patriots are protected if Gronk goes down with an injury.

Per Schefter, Gronkowski earns $10.75 million if he plays 90 percent of the offensive snaps (which he's done once before in his career), or makes 80 catches (which he's done twice), or gains 1,200 yards receiving (once), or is named an All-Pro (three times). That would come his way if he can hit 70 receptions, 1,000 receiving yards, catch 12 touchdown passes, or play 80 percent of New England's snaps.

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The third tier lands Gronkowski $6.75 million for 70 percent of plays, 60 catches, 800 yards or 10 touchdowns. So, there are a lot of doors for Gronkowski here, and it's a player-friendly incentive package, should he stay healthy. Everything Gronk makes is going to be something he earns, which is a win-win for all sides.

He has five seasons of 10 or more touchdowns and has made four Pro Bowls and three All-Pro first teams. Gronkowski's cap hit would have topped out at $12 million in his age-30 season.

And if that's the case again in 2017, he'll be paid like the best tight end in the NFL. In addition, Gronkowski is coming off an injury-shortened season that further lessened his own leverage.

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