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Gronkowski: Patriots' option basically means pay cut

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While no one knows exactly what Rob Gronkowski was tweeting about in regards to his option being picked up on Monday -- a bit of paperwork that will lock up the tight end through the 2019 season -- it's safe to say he is well aware of what the market looks like at his position right now.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport noted the move on Monday. The team already paid $4 million of Gronkowski's option around this time last year, and solidified Gronkowski's status as a long-term Patriot on Monday by picking up the rest. The $10 million option was part of a six-year, $54 million extension he signed back in 2012. It also means Gronkowski will be making less this season than he did a year ago.

It's hard not to wonder if Gronkowski is dreaming of his current market value at the moment. It's also amazing to see him taking this all with a laugh -- and let's be clear, it does not look like Gronkowski is trying to stir up trouble here. The Colts signed Dwayne Allen to a four-year, $29.4 million deal Monday which gives Allen $12 million in Year 1. Allen had 16 catches last season.

Gronkowski is currently 14th in base salary for the 2016 season at his position. Among all active tight ends, he is sixth in career earnings behind Vernon Davis, Jason Witten, Antonio Gates, Marcedes Lewis and Greg Olsen, which actually isn't bad considering Gronkowski is 26. Adjusted for inflation, though, his deal looks similar to that of quarterback Tom Brady in that it doesn't kill a large portion of the team's salary-cap spending. Together, the pair is only taking up 13.55 percent of New England's total cap spending. To put that into perspective, Andy Dalton and A.J. Green take up 16 percent, while Tony Romo and Dez Bryant gobble up more than 20.

The Patriots took a chance on Gronkowski by signing him to a long-term deal amid health issues, but does it ever look good now.

Depending on how the rest of the market shakes out, and depending on how willing Gronkowski is to play for about $8 million per season into his early 30s, we could see this deal tweaked again. He is one of the three best receiving weapons in football regardless of position and could have commanded a Brinks truck during free agency in 2016.

UPDATE: In a related move, Panthers tight end Greg Olsen has gotten a look at the current tight end market as well.

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