Gronkowski not highest-paid tight end in NFL


Gronkowski not highest-paid tight end in NFL

When news dropped that Rob Gronkowski signed a 6-year, 54 million extension, he was quickly dubbed the highest-paid tight end in the history of the NFL.

Not so fast.

A closer look at Gronk's contract, thanks to the Globe's Greg Bedard, shows that Rob Gronkowski is actually the fifth-highest paid tight end in the league.

Gronkowski's current deal is really an 8-year, 55.23 million dollar deal since the next two seasons are included. The last four seasons of his new deal are not guaranteed -- the Patriots would need to pick up a 10 million bonus in order to keep Gronk for 2016-2019 -- but even if they were, Gronkowski's per-year salary is still below that of four other tight ends.

Jason Witten, Dallas: 7.4 millionyr, 18.5 million guaranteed
Vernon Davis, San Francisco: 7.35 millionyr, 23 million guaranteed
Antonio Gates, San Diego: 7.235 million, 20.4 million guaranteed
Jermichael Finley, Green Bay: 7 million, 1 million guaranteed
Rob Gronkowski, New England: 6.9 million, 18 million guaranteed

By being locked up by the Patriots through 2019, Gronkowski may lose out on a big-time pay day down the road. But for a guy who sustained a serious back injury in college and continues to play as hard as he does, the 18 million guaranteed couldn't be passed on.

Beyond the numbers: Kings offense will test Celtics defense

Beyond the numbers: Kings offense will test Celtics defense

BOSTON – When it comes to defense, the Celtics are quick to claim that it is indeed the foundation for which their team is built upon. 
Still, far too often this season, we have seen cracks in their usually Teflon-tough defense, the kind that ultimately means the difference between winning and losing.
The Celtics’ defense will once again need to step up and play well tonight against a Sacramento squad that has shown it can fill it up offensively of late. 
Sacramento (7-11) has scored 100 or more points in eight of their past 10 games. In that span, their 107.2 points per game ranks ninth in the league. 
In that same span, the Celtics have allowed opponents to score 100.3 points per game, which ranks 10th in the NBA in fewest points allowed.
And when it comes to winning, limiting teams to less than 100 points has been huge in Boston’s win total. 
The Celtics have held eight opponents to 100 points or less this season. 
Their record in those games? 8-0.
Within that limited scoring, Boston must also make sure teams don’t get into a nice groove shooting the ball. 
Boston is 0-5 this season when an opponent shoots 48 percent or better from the field. 
While there are several things Boston must do to be successful, having the right kind of defensive disposition ranks at or near the top of that list in their efforts to play with the kind of defensive success that gave so many hope that this would the year Boston would hold court among the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

“We have to get a little more nastier on the defensive end and not let a team come in and get comfortable,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder.

Brady, Bennett, Edelman questionable for Sunday vs. Rams


Brady, Bennett, Edelman questionable for Sunday vs. Rams

FOXBORO -- The Patriots injury report for Sunday's game with the Rams is out. While they'll be without one big name, but their others are still very much in play. 

Rob Gronkowski, who was scheduled to undergo back surgery on Friday, has been ruled out. Jordan Richards, who is dealing with a knee issue and has not practiced this week, will also be held out of action on Sunday. 

Tom Brady (knee), Julian Edelman (foot), Martellus Bennett (ankle/shoulder) and Chris Hogan (back) -- all of whom practiced on Friday -- have been listed as questionable for the Rams game at Gillette Stadium. Special teamer Nate Ebner (concussion) returned to practice on Friday and is also questionable, as is Trey Flowers (shin) and Elandon Roberts, who popped up on the injury report with a jaw issue Friday. 

Special teams captain Matthew Slater missed Friday's session after participating on both Wednesday and Thursday. He's been ruled as questionable. Defensive lineman Woodrow Hamilton is also questionable after missing his second straight day of practice with an illness.

If Slater and Ebner are at all limited this weekend, coupled with the loss of Richards, the Patriots kicking game would be significantly impacted. Hogan took reps as the team's personal protector on the punt team earlier this week and may fill that role should Ebner miss time.