The Patriots recently placed Gronkowski on season-ending injured reserve following a torn ACL he suffered against the Browns a few weeks ago. Gronkowski will need surgery to repair the ligament tear, which will be the seventh surgery he’s undergone in less than two years.
Current projections tentatively expect Gronkowski to be back in time for the start of the 2014 season.
Gronkowski, 24, signed an eight-year contract worth $55.23 million that includes $13.17 million guaranteed with New England back in 2012. He has base salaries of $3.75 million and $4.75 million coming his way in each of the next two seasons, which are both very reasonable, but depending on things go for Gronkowski upon returning from a serious a knee injury, there is a chance that the Patriots could be forced to consider parting ways with him in 2016.
Following the 2015 season, Gronkowski will be due a $10 million option to go along with a base salary of $9.24 million. According to Breer, he stands to make $9.24 million from 2016 to 2019.
New England could always look to re-sign him to an extension in 2015 after they have a better idea of how his knee has recovered, which would reduce his base salaries and offer him some more guaranteed cash.
Gronkowski has been huge part of the Patriots, so I’m sure they are optimistic that he will be able to get back to 100 percent next year, but there are clearly some serious questions about his level of productivity moving forward and whether or not that will justify his future base salaries.