Curran: Why Gronk's extension makes sense for him

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Curran: Why Gronk's extension makes sense for him

When you look at the guts of Rob Gronkowski's six-year, 54 million extension as detailed by Mike Florio, a couple of things jump out right away as to why Gronk took the bait now rather than wait to hit free agency after 2013.

The first is that, over the next four years, Gronkowski will make 18.23 million guaranteed.

Since he was due to make 1.1 million over the next two seasons and then could have been in line for two seasons of franchise tagging at (ballpark) about 12 million, Gronkowski is sparing himself the drama and the headaches. He's also ensuring himself 18 million instead of about 13.1 million.

Any Patriot with a little bit of awareness can see that, when the Patriots have the hammer, they will use it. Whether it's Wes Welker, Logan Mankins, Deion Branch, Vince Wilfork or Tom Brady, if you don't like their terms, you will be franchised.

Gronkowski has guaranteed that he won't have to trust that the Patriots do the right thing.

In signing this extension, though, Gronkowski is trading the chance to make top dollar in exchange for security. He will play the next two years on his rookie deal (with modest salary raises), then be under contract through 2019 when he'll be 30 years old. There is an option the Patriots face in 2016, according to Florio: The team can spend 10 million and pick up the final four years of his deal.

So it's really two deals -- a two-year extension to his rookie deal and another four-year deal worth about 37 million.

The other interesting aspect of this deal has roots in something Robert Kraft said earlier this offseason. Traditionally, veteran salaries have risen dramatically in the NFL since 2006. And this offseason was an example of that, especially at the wideout position. But Kraft indicated that salary growth will be slow and steady in coming years.

There's been much debate as to whether Kraft's prediction is accurate but -- given the man's business acumen -- I'd tend to believe he's mostly accurate.

So that's worth remembering as well when folks question whether Gronkowski is leaving significant money on the table by signing now.

And money is likely being left on the table. Agreeing to be under Patriots control through 2019 for 55-million (including the remaining salaries on his deal), means Gronk is going to make less than 7 million per season. And Jermichael Finley signed a two-year, 14 million extension with the Packers this offseason. So salaries will have to remain completely flat for Gronk to still be at market value in 2019.

Other dynamics are caused by this signing. For instance, Aaron Hernandez -- whose rookie deal expires in 2014 -- may be in line for the franchise tag down the road. And that will lead to a discussion of whether he's a tight end or wide receiver.

Also, Wes Welker sees cash go out while he waits for his own extension. But that's much less significant when one sees Gronk signing through 2019.

Finally, it's worth wondering how strident the Patriots were in stressing to Gronkowski that he has to be a little more cautious in his personal life.

Nobody's having a better time than Gronk. But the more he's out there -- and now with a lot more money to burn -- the greater the chance innocent fun in a bar, dance club or poolside goes awry.

In other words, don't go changin' Gronk. But bring a chaperone.

PFT: Belichick can still diagram his dad’s Navy plays from 1959

PFT: Belichick can still diagram his dad’s Navy plays from 1959

CBS interviewed Patriots coach Bill Belichick and 1960 Heisman winner Joe Bellino from Navy as part of its Army-Navy Game coverage Saturday.

Belichick's father, Steve, was an assistant coach at Navy when Bellino played there, and little Bill, then 7, took it all in. So much so, that 57 years later, Belichick can still diagram the 27 F Trap play that his dad used to drew up in the 1959 season for Bellino.

More from NBC Sports' Pro Football Talk here.

 

Curran: To gauge Patriots' plans for Jimmy G, look to Brissett

Curran: To gauge Patriots' plans for Jimmy G, look to Brissett

When trying to figure out what the Patriots will ultimately do with Jimmy Garoppolo, forget about the speculation and instead focus on the little things the team does. 

Like how they are tending to Jacoby Brissett. 

After having thumb surgery on Oct. 7, Brissett was put on IR. But the team used its one "Get off of IR free card" on Brissett and he's been practicing with the team for the past couple of weeks while not taking up a roster spot. 

That alone isn't compelling evidence that he's the backup-in-waiting and Garoppolo's about to be packed up and shipped out, argued my compadre, Senator Phil Perry. The team had no other players on IR that they could use the designation on at the time. Why not use it on Brissett?

Prior to that, though, we've seen Brissett accompanying the team to away games including the cross-country junket to San Francisco. A reason? Since the Patriots played three straight at Gillette at the start of the season when Brissett was the direct backup to Garoppolo, he didn't get a good look at the road operation and the tempo of being the visiting team. How things work on flights, in meetings, at opposing stadiums and on the sidelines is worth getting a promising young players' eyes on. Also, getting his offensive teammates used to having him around is probably an even bigger benefit. It's not unprecedented to have IR players travel but its not conventional practice either. 

With so many quarterback-needy teams around the league, Garoppolo is perhaps the most attractive option out there. By the end of this year, he will have apprenticed three seasons behind the best quarterback of all-time in a sophisticated offense for a program that's as demanding as any in the league. In the 1 1/2 games he was able to play as a starter in place of Tom Brady, he was sensational.

He got hurt and that's not great. But any team making a deal for him that has concerns about his durability can take him for a spin for one season. Garoppolo is on the books for $825K in 2017 and then his contract is up. The team that dealt for him can franchise him if they need another season to think on it. 

I don't think the Patriots are itching to move Garoppolo. They know they are sitting comfortably with a stack of the most valuable commodity in the sport -- good quarterbacks (or at least one great one and two promising ones) - piled in front of them. They can let the game come to them. 

If it does, as former Patriots executive and Bill Belichick consigliere Mike Lombardi thinks it will, the Patriots can rest easy dealing Garoppolo knowing that they already did advance work getting Brissett up to speed.