PHILADELPHIA - Here's some smoke. We'll see if there's some fire. Hours after our good friend Mike Florio relayed the newsthat there's a team "very interested" in signing Terrell Owens, Owens' agent, Drew Rosenhaus is on the Patriots sideline as New England gets ready for the Eagles. The report, which originated with ESPN's Adam Schefter, said that Rosenhaus wouldn't name the team because of the sensitive nature of the discussions. As Florio noted, "merely flirting with T.O. will create nearly the same distractions as signing him. So the team would be wise to make a final decision before making it known that theres even a mild interest."Could it be the Patriots? Well, New England has an outstanding relationship with Rosenhaus. They also have a need for an outside receiver at this point since Chad Ochocinco (another Rosenhaus client) hasbeen a brutal flop. The Patriots' offense has become increasingly stagnant in recent weeks and absolutely needs an infusion of explosiveness. There's mountains of evidence showing Bill Belichick will take a chance if it helps his team on the field. But that's where the argument against T.O. begins. Albert Haynesworth didn't change his spots here and bombed. Ocho is in the process of doing the same thing. Owens is no genius route-runner and his hands are ordinary to bad. Why not just go after Randy Moss if T.O. is on the radar. Signing T.O. is fraught with danger. But for a Patriots team that is solid record-wise but isn't nearly as potent as their statistics indicate, doing nothing may be just as dangerous. Whether Rosenhaus is here representing T.O.'s interests or merely in Philly to touch base with the numerous clients he has on either team isn't known. But we may soon find out.
Rob Gronkowski's contract looked like one of the NFL's best bargains not too long ago. Now, after agreeing to a contract restructure, he could be paid as the top tight end in the league if he stays healthy.
Granted, it's a gargantuan "if."
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Gronkowski's restructured deal will bump his salary for this upcoming season from $5.25 million to $10.75 million should he hit certain statistical thresholds or be named an All-Pro.
Per Schefter, Gronkowski earns $10.75 million if he plays 90 percent of the offensive snaps (which he's done once before in his career), or makes 80 catches (which he's done twice), or gains 1,200 yards receiving (once), or is named an All-Pro (three times).
Those seem like lofty goals for the 28-year-old who's entering his eighth year as a pro. But history shows that if he stays on the field for a full season or thereabouts -- 15 games to be specific -- he'll get to where he wants to be.
If you take out his rookie year, before he had established himself as a go-to option in the Patriots offense, Gronkowski has played in three seasons during which he's reached at least 15 games. In each of those three seasons, he's been named an All-Pro. In 2011, he hit all three statistical markers. In 2014, he hit one. In 2015, he hit none.
The lesson? When Gronkowski stays relatively healthy throughout a given season, even if he doesn't reach the astronomical statistical heights he reached in his second year, there's a very good chance he's considered the best tight end in the NFL.
And if that's the case again in 2017, he'll be paid like the best tight end in the NFL.
To hit the second tier of his restructured deal -- which would pay him $8.75 million, per Schefter -- Gronkowski needs to play 80 percent of the offensive snaps (which he's done twice), or make 70 catches (three times), or gain 1,000 receiving yards (three times), or catch 12 touchdowns (twice).
To hit the third tier of his new deal and get $6.75 million, Gronkowski needs to play 70 percent of the snaps (which he's done four times), or make 60 catches (three times), or gain 800 receiving yards (three times), or score 10 touchdowns (five times).
According to Spotrac, Jimmy Graham of the Seahawks is currently scheduled to be the tight end position's top earner next season at $10 million. Odds are that if Gronkowski avoids disaster and stays on the field, he'll eclipse that.
But the odds of him staying on the field are what they are: He's played in 15 games in four of seven pro seasons.
The restructured deal seems to be the ultimate incentive for Gronkowski to get healthy and stay that way following last year's season-ending back surgery. If he can, the Patriots will reap the benefits of having the game's most dynamic offensive weapon on the field, and the player will be paid a far cry from what he was scheduled to make when the week began.
The Patriots and Rob Gronkowski have restructured the tight end’s contract for the coming season, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The reworked deal can bump Gronkowski’s salary for the 2017 season from $5.25 million to $10.75 million, according to Schefter.
Gronkowski was limited by injury to just eight games last season. He had 25 receptions for 540 yards and three touchdowns, all of which were career lows.
The 28-year-old is entering his eighth NFL season since being selected by the Pats in the second round of the 2010 draft. He has played played in at least 15 regular-season games in four of his first seven season, though he’s twice played fewer than 10.