Reports: Patriots, Gronkowski working on deal

661390.jpg

Reports: Patriots, Gronkowski working on deal

According to several reports, the Patriots are re-negotiating the contract of tight end Rob Gronkowski. It appears nothing has been finalized just yet, and it is unclear whether the Patriots are restructuring the final two years of Gronkowski's current deal or if they are working to give him an extension.

Gronkowski, a second-round pick in 2010, is scheduled to make 540,000 this season and 575,000 in 2013, the final two years of his four-year rookie deal.

In just two seasons, Gronkowski has already solidified his position among the NFL's best tight ends. In 2011, he set records when he caught 90 passes for 1,327 yards and 17 touchdowns. He added another score on a two-yard run.

Gronkowski played Super Bowl XLVI with a badly sprained ankle he suffered in the AFC Championship Game against the Ravens. He had surgery soon after the season to repair the damage and has been seen rehabbing the injury during Patriots OTAs.

The Patriots don't often re-do rookie deals (though just last year they gave Jerod Mayo a 5-year extension before his five-year contract was set to expire at the end of the 2012 season). But it would make sense for them to either a) lock up arguably the best tight end in football with an extension or b) simply give him a raise in the final two years of his current deal in order to gain some favor and perhaps avoid a messy negotiation in two years when Gronkowski could try to set the market for players at his position.

More to come . . .

Curran’s 100 plays that shaped a dynasty: A nice pair of kicks

top_100_plays_3-4.png

Curran’s 100 plays that shaped a dynasty: A nice pair of kicks

We're into the Top 10 now.

These are the plays of the Bill Belichick Era you best never forget. And probably can't. They're the ones that led directly to championships -- most for New England, a couple for the other guys. Or they're plays that signified a sea change in the way the New England Patriots under Belichick would be behaving from there on out.

I did my best to stack them in order of importance. You got a problem with that? Good. Let us know what's too high, too low or just plain wrong. And thanks for keeping up!

PLAY NUMBER: 4

THE YEAR: 2001 (actually Feb. 3, 2002)

THE GAME: Patriots 20, Rams 17

THE PLAY: Vinatieri 48-yarder in Superdome delivers SB36 win

WHY IT’S HERE: When the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, it was viewed nationally and locally as a cathartic moment for a long-suffering region. Deliverance for a fanbase that resolutely suffered through 90 years of star-crossed heartbreak with a mix of stoicism and fatalism. “Long-suffering Red Sox fan” was a badge of honor, an identity. And New Englanders – baseball fans or not - would self-identify with the hideous notion of Red Sox Nation. There was no “Patriots Nation.” To drag out the forced metaphor, Patriots fans were living in tents and cabins in the wilderness, recluses. Reluctant to be seen in town where they’d be mocked. And suddenly, they cobbled together one of the most improbable, magical seasons in American professional sports, a year which gave birth to a dynasty which was first celebrated, now reviled but always respected. And while so many games and plays led to this 48-yarder – ones we’ve mentioned 12 times on this list – Adam Vinatieri kicking a 48-yarder right down the f****** middle to win the Super Bowl was an orgasmic moment for the recluses and pariahs that had been Patriots fans when nobody would admit to such a thing.
 

PLAY NUMBER: 3

THE YEAR: 2001 (actually Jan. 19, 2002)

THE GAME: Patriots 16, Raiders 13

THE PLAY: Vinatieri from 45 through a blizzard to tie Snow Bowl

WHY IT’S HERE: Two thoughts traveling on parallel tracks were running through the mind while Adam Vinatieri trotted onto the field and lined up his 45-yarder to tie Oakland in the 2001 AFC Divisional Playoff Game, the final one at Foxboro Stadium. “There’s no way he can make this kick in this weather,” was the first. “The way this season’s gone, I bet he makes this kick. It can’t end here. It can’t end now.” From where I was sitting in the press box I couldn’t see the ball clearly, probably because I was looking for it on a higher trajectory than Vinatieri used. So I remember Vinatieri going through the ball, my being unable to locate it in the air and then looking for the refs under the goalposts to see their signal. And when I located them, I saw the ball scuttle past. Then I saw the officials’ arms rise. Twenty-five years earlier, the first team I ever followed passionately – the ’76 Patriots – left me in tears when they lost to the Raiders in the playoffs. Now, at 33, I was covering that team and it had gotten a measure of retribution for the 8-year-old me.