Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski is expected to report to the team for the start of training camp on July 25 and will not hold out for a new contract.
The Patriots and Gronkowski were expected to have finalized an agreement on a restructured contract by now, according to reports from the past few months. However, there’s no deal in place between the two parties, which has prompted some to suggest that he could still be available for trade.
An AFC personnel executive tells Greg Bedard of BostonSportsJournal.com that until a deal is done, he believes Gronkowski is likely available.
“‘Where’s the restructure of his contract?’” the executive said, via NESN.com. “Until that’s done, I think he’s still available. I wouldn’t be surprised if [Bill] Belichick is going to test Gronk’s buy-in with the contract.’”
The executives who spoke to Bedard seem to think Patriots HC Bill Belichick is testing Gronkowski and it’s more likely they’ll come to an agreement at some point that will keep him in New England for the remainder of his career.
“Three of the five personnel executives I spoke with feel that Belichick is just testing Gronkowski’s mettle and the tight end will eventually have his contract tweaked at some point and he’ll finish out this season with the Patriots,” Bedard writes. “The other two execs said they think the Patriots make Gronkowski play under his current contract. They feel Gronkowski put himself in this situation with his talk about retirement, and then his decision to stay away from the voluntary workouts. ‘I would be surprised if Belichick gave in on that,’ said one exec.”
Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com previously reported that the Patriots reached out to a few teams including the Lions, Titans, Texans and 49ers about a possible trade involving Gronkowski.
“I don’t think they were shopping Gronk to the entire league, but there were some teams they trust that I know they talked to. Detroit, Tennessee, Houston, San Francisco — you guys can make the connections there,” Breer said, via NESN.com.
One report specifically mentioned that the Patriots had trade offers on the table from both the Titans and 49ers that owner Robert Kraft later refuted.
For what it’s worth, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported that the Patriots called teams about a potential Gronkowski trade as recently as three days before this year’s draft.
Gronkowski, 28, is a former second-round pick of the Patriots back in 2010. He is in the sixth year of his eight-year, $55.23 million contract that included $13.17 million guaranteed.
Gronkowski has outplayed this contract by a mile and was one of the most underpaid players in the NFL. He was set to make base salaries of $8 million (2018) and $9 million (2019) over the remainder of the contract when he agreed to a restructured contract last summer.
The Patriots added some incentives to Gronkowski’s contract last year that allowed him to make $10.1875 million for the 2017 season. As of now, Gronkowski stands to earn $8.91 million for the 2018 season.
In 2017, Gronkowski appeared in 14 games and caught 69 passes for 1,084 yards receiving and eight touchdowns for the Patriots.
We’ll have more regarding Gronkowski as the news is available.