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Patriots willing to restructure Gronkowski's deal in '18

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Rob Gronkowski assured the New England Patriots two weeks ago that he is intent on playing for the franchise in 2018.

After reportedly flirting this offseason with a second career on the big screen, in the professional wrestling ring or most recently, for promotion's sake, on a dirt-bike track, Gronk assuaged fears that he would retire when he announced via Instagram statement that he was "looking forward to another championship run." But his return to Foxborough won't come cheap.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported two weeks ago that Gronk's reasons for skipping voluntary workouts were financial, and the Patriots have received the tight end's message loud and clear.

"The Patriots are willing to adjust Gronkowski's contract for at least a year," Rapoport reported on Monday's edition of NFL Up to the Minute. "They never do extensions two years out, but they are at least open to taking a look at Gronkowski's deal and giving him some more money which he no doubt deserves.

"He has stayed away from the Patriots, which is believed to be related to his contract. When they do come up with a new deal or part of a new deal, Gronkowski will in fact probably show up."

Rapoport added that Gronk and the Pats are doing a similar dance to one they did before last season after which New England reworked the 2017 year of his deal and added $5.5 million in incentives, all of which the tight end hit.

It's not known how exactly Gronkowski wants to redo his deal. As his contract currently stands, Gronk is slated to make $8 million in base salary, including a $656K roster bonus and $250K workout bonus, per Spotrac. The tight end's $10.9 million cap number is the highest of his career. Gronk's deal runs through 2019 after which he is an unrestricted free agent.

The 28-year-old tight end is a year-in, year-out injury risk, but when healthy he's a surefire All-Pro and debatably the greatest tight end in the history of the sport.

Gronkowski will be back in a Patriots uniform and catching passes from Tom Brady in 2018, but under what terms remains to be seen.

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