A separate source pointed out that the Patriots kept Gronkowski in to block for most of the game and his routes were short to intermediate for the most part. Garafolo isn’t sure that New England wanted to risk further injury to Gronkowski by pushing when Tom Brady was out of the lineup.
It makes plenty of sense for the Patriots to be as conservative as possible with Gronkowski, especially after they got out to a 3-0 start to open the year with Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett under center.
Garafolo says that this is the week to see if anything changes in regards to Gronkowski’s role in the team’s offense, as it should give a better idea of where he’s really at physically.
Gronkowski, 27, is a former second-round pick of the Patriots back in 2010. He’s currently in the fifth year of his eight-year, $55.23 million contract that included $13.17 million guaranteed.
Gronkowski has outplayed this contract by a mile and is one of the most underpaid players in the NFL, especially with the new contracts signed by tight ends. He stands to make base salaries of $2.25 million (2016), $4.25 million (2017), $8 million (2018) and $9 million (2019) over the remainder of the contract.
In 2016, Gronkowski has appeared in two games for the Patriots and caught one pass for 11 yards and no touchdowns.