Analyzing a Gronkowski renegotiation

656254.jpg

Analyzing a Gronkowski renegotiation

The Patriots are always in the mood to renegotiate with young players whose work has exceeded their pay scale.

Especially if said player's future services can be had for a reasonable price when the renegotiation is done.

Sometimes the player bites (Jerod Mayo, Nick Kaczur, Danny Woodhead). Sometimes he doesn't (David Givens and Logan Mankins).

The Patriots are talking money with Rob Gronkowski. Our friend Mike Florio at PFT reports that they're actually done talking and Gronk's getting a raise for the final two years of his rookie deal (2012, 2013). Gronkowski's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, denied that and the NFLPA website still says Gronk is due to make 540,000 this year and 575,000 in 2013.

A pay bump over the final two years of his deal seems a lot more likely for Gronkowski now than an extension.

As the best tight end in football in 2012, Gronk is still just 23. He will become an unrestricted free agent at 25.

It's feels odd to think Rosenhaus would advise Gronkowski to delay his opportunity to be paid whatever the market will bear and sign an extension. Especially when the Patriots are surely going to lowball him.

But the Patriots are smart enough to know that it's good business on two fronts to pay Gronk more now. One, he deserves it and it looks bad if they don't. And two, it could buy goodwill in the future when it does come time to get a new deal done.

Contrary to perception, the Patriots often give those goodwill bumps to players who've outperformed their deals. Its when the deal is about to expire that muscle-flexing starts.

The tight end landscape in the NFL is going to be fascinating after 2013. Gronk, Aaron Hernandez, Saints standout Jimmy Graham and the Packers Jermichael Finley will all be unrestricted free agents.

What's the market going to look like? Well, Finley did a renegotiation in February, avoiding the franchise tag this year. He got two years and more than 14M.

The franchise tag will assuredly be in play for some in that group in 2014. And that will be a story unto itself since the 2012 tag of 5.4M is the lowest for any position except kicker.

Some in the group - potentially Hernandez - could try to claim they are wide receivers and not tight ends when that time comes (the tag for wideouts was 4M higher this year).

If the Patriots can get Gronkowski to extend his deal now, it sets them up to use their franchise tag in 2014 on Hernandez.

Meanwhile, you have to figure Wes Welker's camp watches this with interest. Not only are they hoping for an extension, they are wondering whether the Patriots would go back-to-back with the franchise tag on Welker in 2012 and 2013.

It's all a chess game.

Curran: McDaniels staying with Pats shouldn't be a shocker

Curran: McDaniels staying with Pats shouldn't be a shocker

For weeks the speculation regarding Josh McDaniels wasn't a matter of "if" but "when."

But while national media had McDaniels signed, sealed and delivered to multiple landing spots, the proposition that he'd leave at all was never a likelihood. 

RELATED

The Rams weren't attractive to him from the outset. Jacksonville didn't excite him, either. And on Monday, he passed on the 49ers opportunity. 

The lure of a blank slate in San Fran at quarterback and GM didn't outpace the uncertainty of going cross-country to work for a seemingly dysfunctional franchise that's cycled rapidly through coaches and has an unrealistic sense that it's a long, long way removed from its glory days, the only remnant remaining from that being perhaps the logo on the helmet. 

With four kids and a job McDaniels considers one of the 10 best on coaching -- head man or no -- he will stay on as the Patriots' offensive coordinator.

"I was really impressed with (Niners owner) Jed York and (team executive) Paraag Marathe . . . and the people that came from the 49ers organization," McDaniels said on a conference call this morning. "They did a great job with their presentation. Humbled to be included in that process. At this time it's just best for my family and myself to remain here in New England and focus on this year's playoffs and finish out the year however it turns out."

The same faulty speculative reasoning that had McDaniels as good as gone from the Patriots will move on undeterred today and surmise that McDaniels is staying with the Patriots because he knows, or has been promised, that he'll receive the head coaching job when Bill Belichick steps aside. 

While the Kraft family certainly thinks highly of McDaniels and that could come to pass, anyone tapping their foot and checking their watch waiting for Belichick to step down is in for a long wait. He's showing no signs of wrapping it up and, while I haven't been told directly McDaniels isn't the automatic successor, he wouldn't be taking interviews at all if he were assured that. 

What will be interesting to see is whether interest remains high in him for other jobs or the perception that he's never going to leave means teams don't bother to ask. San Fran obviously had its heart set on McDaniels. Even though Nick Caserio passed on the chance to interview with the Niners for their open GM job, the team did talk to Louis Riddick about the spot. He and McDaniels have high regard for each other. 

Between McDaniels, Caserio and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, the people closest to Belichick on the coaching flow chart all had chances to go somewhere else and all passed on the chance. It's another example of not why the Patriots are good but why they remain good. Stability. 
 

McDaniels: 'Best for my family and myself' to remain with Patriots

McDaniels: 'Best for my family and myself' to remain with Patriots

Josh McDaniels will be staying put in New England, he said on Monday, because that's what's best for him and his family at this point in time. 

RELATED

The Patriots offensive coordinator was a front-runner for the open head-coaching job in San Francisco but has removed his name from consideration.

"I was really impressed with [Niners owner and CEO] Jed York and [Chief Strategy Officer and EVP of Football Operations] Praag [Marathe] and [Director of Football Administration and Analytics] Brian [Hampton] and the people that came from the 49ers organization. They did a great job with their presentation. Again, humbled to be included in that process.

"At this time it's just best for my family and myself to remain here in New England and focus on this year's playoffs and finish out the year however it turns out."

Next season will be McDaniels' sixth full season back with the Patriots since returning during the playoffs of the 2011 season.

"I've always said how grateful I am to have this opportunity to work here with Mr. Kraft and his family, and coach under Bill with a lot of great guys on our staff, and to have the privilege to get to work with the players that we work with each day," McDaniels said. "It's a great opportunity. I'm very thankful to be here, and very much looking forward to this week against Pittsburgh."