Potential back surgery could land Gronk on PUP

Potential back surgery could land Gronk on PUP
May 21, 2013, 12:45 pm
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A source told me Monday night that Rob Gronkowski’s surgery went “awesome.” The infection cleared, the new plate installed, the forearm that spawned a few thousand stories should – SHOULD – be a thing of the past. Now Gronk has the back issue to contend with.
Mike Florio, poobah of Pro Football Talk, reports that Gronk will consult with California doctor Robert Watkins in the next month to determine his course of action.
If Gronkowski gets a recommendation of surgery, the earliest date he’d be worked on would be late June. That would certainly mean he’s out for training camp (which he may already have been because of the forearm), and would put the start of the regular season at risk too. The likelihood would then be that Gronkowski would begin the season on the PUP list and not be available for work until after the sixth week of the season.
Gronkowski’s injury history at the age of 24 has to be a source of consternation for both the player and the team. And while the celebrated deal he signed last year was for eight years and $55 million, the Patriots have a trap door they can use before the final day of the 2015 league year (that will be in spring of 2016). The Patriots can either pay Gronk a $10 million option bonus by then and have him through 2019 at salaries of $2.25M, $4.25M, $8M and $9M over the final four years of the deal or they can pull the ripcord and be out of the Gronk business after four years and $18M.
So the onus is really on Gronk Inc., to manage itself well over the next three years to realize the end of that deal where the salaries get fat.