Rob Gronkowski breaks the mold at the tight end position. It only seems right that his contract does the same.
Albert Breer and Ian Rapoport report that Gronkowski agreed to a six-year extension worth $54 million with the New England Patriots according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation. The extension makes him a Patriot through 2019.
This is a unique situation in so many ways. The Patriots usually don't like to extend players before their rookie contracts are complete. Gronkowski has two years left on his deal. In terms of average salary per year Gronkowski's deal makes him one of the top five highest-paid tight ends in NFL history.
In reality, this is an eight-year deal. Gronkowski's new money will be tacked on to the $1.1 million he was scheduled to make over the next two years. The deal included an $8 million signing bonus, according to Breer and Rapoport.
In the end, it's more like an eight-year, $55.1 million contract. That's under $7 million-per-season. There will be no contract drama in Gronk Nation. Win for the Patriots.
This win-win deal helps the Patriots long-term in so many ways. It frees up the franchise tag for future use with Aaron Hernandez. More importantly, it locks up their best young player for the rest of the decade. Gronkowski acquired enormous long-term security in exchange for the ability to attempt to max out his money in 2014. Imagine what his pricetag would be then.
You can argue that Gronkowski just enjoyed the best tight end season in NFL history at age 22. His receiving numbers were record-breaking and insane. He is one of the best five blocking tight ends at his position. There are no players like him in the league. He gives the Patriots so many formation options on offense and make the Patriots offense so difficult to defend.
That's why Gronkowski deserved special consideration. Wes Welker is a great player; Gronkowski is a transformational one. Now he has the contract to match his talents.